News Release: Precept Wine Brands Grows With Corus Estates & Vineyards Acquisition

The Seattle-based company expands Northwest portfolio with new brands from Washington, Oregon and Idaho

SEATTLE, January 12, 2010-Effective January 1, 2010, Seattle-based Precept Wine Brands has acquired Corus Estates & Vineyards including its winemaking operations, accounting, sales, marketing and retail locations. Corus Estates & Vineyards was owned and operated by the Baty family. Dan Baty is also co-owner in Precept Wine Brands.

“Dan and his family felt that it was time to consolidate some of the efforts of their wine entities,” said Precept CEO and co-founder Andrew Browne. “These additions to our Northwest portfolio will strengthen our commitment to producing, marketing and selling wine of outstanding value in the region. We feel posed for success with our core portfolio and the additions of these new brands.”

Precept plans to increase distribution and consumer awareness of the core Corus Estates & Vineyards brands. The newly acquired brands include:

Washington State
Brands: Alder Ridge, 6 Prong, Zefina
Retail Location: Alder Ridge (opening in Woodinville in late January 2010)

Brands: Blue Pirate, Battle Creek

Brands: Sawtooth Winery
Winemaking Facility: Sawtooth Winery on its estate vineyard (Nampa)
Retail Location: Sawtooth Winery

“We are excited about joining forces with Precept Wine Brands,” said Ken McCabe, former President of Corus Estates & Vineyards and new Vice President of Western Sales at Precept Wine Brands. “The Corus portfolio will greatly benefit from the sales and marketing infrastructure at Precept and will create incredible sales opportunities for our Northwest portfolio.”

Retained in the acquisition is the Corus Estates & Vineyards staff including, McCabe, Brooke Williams (Director of Retail Operations), Deanna Beaton (Consumer Relations Manager), Jamilla Kounellas (Sales Manager, Washington), Ina DeBoer (Retail Manager and Events Coordinator, Sawtooth Winery) as well as winemakers Bill Murray (Sawtooth Winery) and Rob Chowanietz (Alder Ridge).

The Baty family will maintain separate ownership and operations of their vineyard company, Winemakers LLC. Precept Wine Brands will continue to source grapes from Winemakers LLC’s various properties for their wine programs. All of Corus Estates & Vineyards’ Oregon facilities will also continue to operate under Winemakers LLC.

30 Years of NW Wine Industry History:

The Seattle-based Baty family has a 30-year history in the northwest wine industry starting with the acquisition of Columbia Winery (founded in 1958 and is the first bonded winery in Washington State) in 1980. They later founded Corus Estates & Vineyard in the mid-90’s (formally know as Corus Brands) adding several other brands (WA: Covey Run, Paul Thomas; ID: Ste. Chapelle, Sawtooth; AU: Alice White) over the years.

In 2001 Corus Estates & Vineyards was acquired by Constellation Brands (while the Baty family maintained it 2,500+ acres of vineyard property as well as Sawtooth Winery in Idaho). After the Constellation acquisition, the Baty family began making key vineyard acquisitions in Oregon, developing new brands in the Northwest.

Meanwhile in 2003, former Corus Brands President Andrew Browne re-united with Dan Baty to found Precept Wine Brands, a company committed to putting the consumer first through innovative winemaking, creative branding and quality partnerships with winemaking and viticultural teams in Washington and around the world.

Over the course of seven years, Precept has built more than 25 brands, created 10 successful partnerships, completed acquisitions, owns and operates 7 tasting rooms and opened a brand new winemaking facility in Walla Walla. In 2009, Precept Wine Brands sold more than 600,000 cases, making it the largest privately owned wine company in Washington and 21st in the US.

Out of the last 150 wineries to have been bonded in Washington State, Precept was the first to completely focus on producing and selling wines for $15 or less. Since then, Precept has built a portfolio of quality wines from Washington and abroad that appeal to consumer and trade audiences alike and has garnered consistent Best Buy and Best Value ratings (landing in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Best Value List twice).

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