SAN FRANCISCO, May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Bacchus Capital Management, LLC, a San Francisco-based private equity firm providing strategic capital in the wine industry, has made a significant investment of growth capital in DeLille Cellars, Woodinville, Washington. The winery was founded in 1992 by Charles and Greg Lill, Jay Soloff and Chris Upchurch, and is one of the most respected wineries in the US today. Concurrently, Bacchus has acquired the Oregon winery Panther Creek Cellars and has appointed acclaimed winemaker Tony Rynders as Panther's Consulting Winemaker.
"Our partnership with Bacchus provides DeLille Cellars with the financial backing and growth ability that we could not have accomplished on our own," stated Greg Lill, DeLille Cellars President and CEO. "We were the first Washington winery, founded over 20 years ago, to focus exclusively on crafting Bordeaux style blends. Our wines have met with much critical acclaim and consumer demand. Now we are at a point where we need additional resources and proven expertise in order to take advantage together of the opportunities ahead."
"Washington State is a grand cru region that happened 10,000 years ago," commented Chris Upchurch, DeLille Cellars Winemaker and Co-founder. "It's our responsibility to take that forward, to exploit the terroir and to make terrific wines. We are on the path of discovery to reach the potential of a great wine region and a great wine brand. With Bacchus as our partner, DeLille Cellars will be able to take advantage of many additional aspects of making and selling our wine for the future."
"I have been making wine in Oregon for nearly 20 years," commented Tony Rynders, Consulting Winemaker at Panther Creek Cellars. "This winery has a storied history and I am eager to build on that legacy. I look forward to crafting our own examples of the exceptional regional blends Oregon is known for: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and, most recently, Chardonnay. I have always enjoyed the creativity of making wine. The chance to be a part of Panther Creek's next chapter and to work with a team of proven and committed professionals is an exciting opportunity."
"Bacchus is focused on supporting talented winemakers and on building family-owned wineries, enabling them to fulfill their potential," stated Sam Bronfman, Bacchus Co-founder and Managing Partner. "We believe that the Pacific Northwest is an outstanding winemaking region, offering winemakers diverse environments to craft unique and admirable wines. We are proud to partner with individuals regarded both as pioneers and leaders in their field. Working with Chris Upchurch and the team at DeLille, as well as with Tony Rynders and the team at Panther, fulfills a great ambition of ours. With these two accomplished winemakers, and the teams at DeLille Cellars and Panther Creek, our portfolio truly is a 'string of pearls'."
"Our private equity model is unique," commented Peter Kaufman, Bacchus Co-founder and Managing Partner. "We do not have one singular black box approach to investing in wineries. Rather, we invest in businesses and winemakers we believe in; for DeLille Cellars, we have provided growth capital and in Panther's case, it's an outright acquisition. Additionally, we continue to leverage our internal talent across the portfolio: we have appointed Oregon veteran Anthony Van Nice, working with us at Wine by Joe, as President at Panther Creek to partner with the highly acclaimed winemaker Tony Rynders. Our goal is to develop customized long term partnerships."
Bacchus portfolio companies include: Andretti Winery, a well-known Napa winery founded by Mario Andretti; Madrigal Family Winery, a recognized Napa Valley winery located on Highway 29; Maritime Wine Trading Collective, a leading boutique wine import, production, and distribution company; Qupe, a leading Central Coast winery; Sbragia Family Vineyards, the Dry Creek Valley winery founded by world-class winemaker Ed Sbragia; Wine by Joe, one of the largest wine producers in Oregon. Bacchus previously had a successful financing with Cameron Hughes Wine, one of America's fastest growing wine businesses.
About DeLille Cellars
DeLille Cellars is a boutique artisan winery located in Woodinville, Washington. Under celebrated winemaker Chris Upchurch, DeLille Cellars was the first winery in Washington to focus on creating Bordeaux style wine blends. The winery is very prominent on the Red Mountain AVA with its own 20 acre vineyard along with other top sites in the Yakima Valley. DeLille Cellars currently produces six Bordeaux-styled wines including Grand Ciel, Chaleur Estate Rouge, D2, Harrison Hill, Four Flags and Chaleur Estate Blanc. Also produced are the Doyenne wines which include classic northern Rhone Syrah – awarded as one of the great 15 Syrahs of the world; a Roussanne; Metier, as Southern Rhone-style red wine; AIX, a Provence-style red wine and a Bandol-style Rose. Robert Parker Jr. of The Wine Advocate rated DeLille Cellars and Doyenne as two of the top 12 Washington producers, bestowing the title of the "Lafite Rothschild" of Washington State. DeLille Cellars has a traditional "chai" Chateau winery located on the 10 acre Lill Family Estate which overlooks the Woodinville valley floor below as well as its Carriage House tasting room.
For more information, visit www.delillecellars.com
About Panther Creek Cellars
Located in the heart of the Willamette Valley in McMinnville's historic power station, Panther Creek Cellars has been producing signature Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay wines since 1986. Founded by the acclaimed winemaker Ken Wright, Panther Creek has been recognized for its signature blends as well as single vineyard designate wines. The winery has been credited by Robert Parker as "producing some of Oregon's most concentrated and age worthy wines." From 2013 onward, the Panther Creek wines will be made by the highly acclaimed Tony Rynders.
For more information, visit www.panthercreekcellars.com
About Bacchus Capital Management
Bacchus Capital Management is an investment firm providing strategic capital and making equity investments in United States wineries and wine businesses.
For more information, visit www.bacchuswinefund.com
SOURCE Bacchus Capital Management, LLC