Argentines Pay $6.95 Million for California’s Troubled Renwood Winery

Investors behind Mendoza’s Vistalba buy bankrupt Sierra Foothills producer

An Argentinean investment group is buying the long-troubled Renwood Winery in California’s Sierra Foothills. Ren Acquisition, Inc., whose ownership includes billionaire Alejandro Pedro Bulgheroni and Argentinean wine veteran Carlos Pulenta, agreed Aug. 3 to purchase the 65,000-square-foot Plymouth, Calif., winery and tasting room, the Renwood brand and existing inventory. The price was $6.95 million.

The winery’s two parent companies, Renwood Vineyard Properties and Renwood Group, filed for Chapter 11 protection in fall 2009, and a complicated series of legal maneuvers followed. Renwood remained in business, although last fall the court-appointed receiver Winston Mar stepped in to reinstate the winery staff after Renwood founder Robert Smerling terminated them. According to Mar, most of the winery’s bills have been settled. “All the growers were paid to make sure the business could continue,” he said.

Renwood was established in 1993 and eventually became one of the largest producers in the Sierra Foothills. It specializes in Zinfandel, Syrah and Barbera.

Pulenta, who is already a partner with Alejandro Bulgheroni at Bodega Vistalba, will be the primary wine consultant for Renwood. Bulgheroni said in a statement, “It is an exciting new opportunity for our team to work with the terroir of Renwood. We believe that the addition of Zinfandel from Amador County to our portfolio of wines will be the first step in our international commitment to pioneer winemaking.”

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