A federal bankruptcy judge in Sacramento today cleared the way for Amador County's troubled Renwood Winery to be sold for nearly $7 million.
The potential buyer is Ren Aquisition Inc., a newly formed California corporation affiliated with Nuevo Manantial, a South American energy company with diversified agricultural interests in Argentina and Uruguay. (Three Ren representatives at Monday's hearing sat silently through the proceedings, and afterwards declined to discuss their plans for Renwood.)
According to court records, Nuevo Manantial agreed in March to a letter-of-intent to purchase most of the winery's assets from CRG Partners Group, the court-appointed receiver that has been overseeing winery operations for nearly two years.
Under the terms of the agreement sanctioned Monday by Judge Robert S. Bardwil, Ren will pay $6,950,000 for Renwood's equipment, inventory and "intellectual property," among other assets. According to Winston Mar, Renwood's managing director under the receivership, the winery has 65,000 square feet of production and storage space and is capable of producing 150,000 cases of wine a year. Since it was founded in 1993, Renwood has been one of the more readily recognized brands in the foothills, gaining its following largely on the strength of vineyard-designated zinfandels.
Other parties to the agreement include Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. ("Rabobank"), which claimed a lien on the winery's assets for an outstanding $15 million, and W.J. Deutsch & Sons Ltd., which claimed a lien against Renwood for $6 million.
Earlier, one of Renwood's prime vineyards, Twin Rivers in neighboring El Dorado County, had been bought by the Napa Valley winery Rombauer Vineyards, which has long purchased zinfandel from the Sierra foothills.
Though Monday's hearing was billed as an auction, no bidders other than Ren Acquisition participated in the session.