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  • Precept Wine Brands Announces New Joint Ventures Apex Cellars, Willow Crest Winery & Red Door Cellars

    SEATTLE, WA – Today, Precept Wine Brands announces the signing of a new Joint Venture with Apex Cellars owned by Harry Alhadeff. Effective immediately, Precept Wine Brands will assume 50% ownership of Apex Cellars and related brands. This Joint Venture along with other recent partnerships including Willow Crest Winery and Red Door Cellars maximizes the talents of each party, giving proprietors, winemakers and their teams the freedom to focus on their passion and strengths while Precept utilizes their infrastructure and expertise to bring the wine brands to their greatest potential in the marketplace.

    The partnership with Apex Cellars in Prosser, Washington marks an exciting evolution in Precept’s five-year history. “For Precept, Apex is an opportunity to expand upon our premium Washington portfolio with a strong brand that holds a tremendous reputation for quality and prestige. This partnership will allow us to take the brands that Harry Alhadeff has built into stronger distribution with the sales, marketing and logistics power that our company can provide,” said Andrew Browne, Precept Wine Brands Founder.

    Apex Cellars was launched in 1988 by Harry Alhadeff, one of the Northwest’s most knowledgeable wine retailers and distributors and Brian Carter, a winemaker of remarkable depth and experience. Known as one of Washington’s most respected wineries, Apex’s three brands, Apex, Apex II and Bridgman cover the spectrum from reserve-caliber, vineyard-designate wines to wines that can be enjoyed everyday. “This is a fantastic opportunity to partner with a wonderful company such as Precept Wine Brands with the goal and objective of taking Apex wines to the next level where they deserve to be,” said Alhadeff.

    Alhadeff is no stranger to Precept Wine Brands, having teamed up with Precept when he sold his Washington Hills brand to the company in 2003. “It has been wonderful to watch Precept grow Washington Hills to a nationally recognized brand, while maintaining the integrity of what I worked so hard to create. I am excited to see what they will do with the rest of my portfolio,” said Alhadeff who will remain a partner and strong ambassador for his wines in the future.

    The partnership between Apex and Precept Wine Brands includes the Apex Cellars tasting room located in the Winemaker’s Loft at 357 Port Street in Prosser, Washington. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the warm, inviting loft to taste through the portfolio of Apex, Apex II and Bridgman wines.

    In February, Precept created a joint venture partnership with David Minick and Willow Crest Winery in Prosser. “We are thrilled about the opportunity to partner with Willow Crest owner and winemaker David Minick and take part in the Minick family legacy,” stated Browne.

    Willow Crest Winery was founded in 1995 by David J. Minick, a longtime grape grower in the Yakima Valley. The Minick Family first planted wine grapes on their Roza farm, North of Prosser in 1982. David chose to expand his love for raising grapes to the next level by making premium wine from a small portion of the family vineyard. To date, their 200-acre vineyard supplies more than 8,000 cases of award winning Willow Crest wines.

    The Willow Crest Estate Vineyard is located six miles north of Prosser at a 1,300′ elevation overlooking the vast Yakima Valley. Focusing on Pinot Gris and Syrah, Willow Crest Winery uses estate grown fruit that Minick personally plants, cultivates and harvests to produce Willow Crest’s premium wines. By having control from “vine to wine,” he monitors crop load, canopy size, irrigation, sun exposure, as well as the balance of fruit and sugar at harvest time. The Precept Wine Brands portfolio of Willow Crest Wines will be predominantly white varietal focused including: Pinot Gris and Riesling. Additional small production wines include: Chenin Blanc, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Port, Rose©, Chardonnay, Merlot, Mourvedre© and assorted late harvest wines as tasting room exclusives.

    “My family’s passion has always been in the vineyard and on the winemaking side of the industry. We have admired Precept Wine Brands for its strengths in the marketing and sales realm and look forward to combining our talents for a successful partnership in the future,” said Minick.

    The Willow Crest tasting room is located off exit 82 in Prosser’s new wine village. The Tuscan themed tasting room welcomes visitors with its warm, relaxing character and charming patio; perfect for outdoor events. Behind the tasting room sits the Willow Crest barrel room where the winery’s red wines are housed.

    Earlier this year Precept Wine Brands also established a new partnership in Oregon with Red Door Cellars from the Willamette Valley. This joint venture with the McClaskey family allows Precept to add Oregon Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris to its portfolio, focusing on sales and marketing for the popular brand. Red Door Cellars’ winemaking is lead by Laurent Montalieu of NW Wine Co. who will continue to create outstanding wines for Red Door.

    All three partnerships signify an exciting win-win opportunity for Precept and their partners moving forward. Precept Wine Brands recognizes the complications of selling and marketing wines in a competitive market and are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with winemakers and seasoned veterans in the wine industry, maximizing potential for all parties involved.

    About Precept Wine Brands

    In 2002, Precept Wine Brands committed itself to putting the consumer first through innovative winemaking, creative branding and quality partnerships with winemaking teams in Washington and around the world. Over the course of five years, Precept has built over 25 brands, created 10 successful partnerships with established viability, completed acquisitions and sold nearly 600,000 cases in 2007, making it the 3rd largest wine company in Washington and 21st in the U.S. Precept’s wines receive overwhelming support from the wine trade and consumers alike and are recognized for their focus on quality and value.

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