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Jess Jackson goes shopping.

It's obvious that Jess Jackson, owner of Jackson Family Wines and Kendall-Jackson, didn't take a mid-summer vacation. In a quick one-two punch at the end of June, Jackson signed an agreement to buy Murphy-Goode Estate Winery in Sonoma County and his Atalon Winery acquired the Robert Pecota Winery in Napa Valley.

Murphy-Goode, a three-family partnership of Tim Murphy, Dale Goode and Dave Ready, was founded in 1985. Early on, the winery won critical praise with its Sauvignon (Fume) Blanc, although now it produces more red wine. Production is about 140,000 cases per year. The Murphy family will retain its vineyard holdings. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

In the Napa sale, the purchase includes the Pecota winery and a 40-acre vineyard in the Calistoga area. Jackson will use the winery for production of his Atalon brand, which has been made since 1997 at the Jackson-owned Cardinale winery in Oakville. Atalon produces about 20,000 cases of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from several Napa vineyards.

Pecota retained the right to the Robert Pecota brand, and is planning to build a small winery and continue the brand.

George Rose, a Kendall-Jackson spokesperson, told Wines & Vines that Jackson is still shopping. "He is looking to build out his portfolio of fine wines and is in an acquisition mode," Rose said.

"The competitive landscape in the wine business has changed so dramatically in the past five years that organizations need to offer everything from soup to nuts. We will take our turn at the high end of the market," Rose said.

There have been reports that Jackson is interested in buying Domaine Carneros, and is also said to be looking at Arrowood Winery in Sonoma and Freemark Abbey in Napa.

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Title Annotation:news this month
Publication:Wines & Vines
Date:Aug 1, 2006
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