Kalita Vineyard_20201001_010.jpg

KALITA
VINEYARD

“The METIS team exceeded our expectations on every aspect of the sale of our vineyard. From the preparation of the marketing materials, during negotiations, and throughout the due diligence period, each member of the METIS team was incredibly professional and thorough in helping us close this sale. But most importantly, they found us a buyer who shares our deep commitment to sustainability and will continue stewarding the Kalita Vineyard into the future. We are very pleased with the outcome of this transaction and would highly recommend METIS to anyone thinking of exploring a sale in the wine industry.”

Arthur Kalita

CLIENT

Kalita Vineyard is a 65-acre property located in the heart of the acclaimed Yamhill-Carlton AVA, a nested-AVA of the esteemed Willamette Valley AVA, and 10 minutes north of downtown Yamhill, OR. Planted between 1999 and 2001, Kalita has 22 acres of 100% ultra-premium Pinot Noir and is LIVE Certified Sustainable. The Vineyard has supplied fruit to some of the Willamette Valley’s most prestigious producers including Et Fille Wines, Big Table Farm, Panther Creek Cellars, Ponzi Vineyards, and Domaine Divio. Wines made from Kalita Vineyard fruit have achieved over 45 ratings between 90 and 95 points from major wine publications, underscoring the Vineyard’s exceptional reputation for producing premium Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley.

CHALLENGE

After owning the Vineyard from its inception, Arthur and Sherry Kalita were ready to explore a sale. Endeavoring to be good stewards of the land, it was important to the Kalitas to find a buyer who shared a similar commitment to sustainability. Since the Kalitas live in New York, they also needed a transaction advisor with a physical presence in the Willamette Valley who could handle the logistics of a vineyard sale and the corresponding onsite diligence requirements.

 

At the strong recommendation of another vineyard owner with knowledge of METIS’ work, Arthur and Sherry hired METIS to explore such a sale and find a buyer who had a strong track record of sustainable farming practices. With an office located in the Willamette Valley, the METIS team could facilitate all the onsite transaction requirements.

PROCESS

With a deep knowledge of prospective buyers that fit the Kalitas’ requirements, METIS prepared a buyer list that included strategic vineyard operators and wineries who would continue to farm Kalita Vineyard in a sustainable manner, and whose operations would be uniquely enhanced by this specific vineyard acquisition. Given that the Kalita Vineyard was fully contracted with long-term fruit supply agreements, it was also imperative to engage prospective buyers in a very discrete and confidential manner.

 

A buyer that immediately jumped to the top of the list was Sokol Blosser. A pioneer of sustainable farming, Sokol Blosser has produced premium wines in the Willamette Valley for over 50 years. Achieving B Corp certification in 2015, Sokol Blosser creates wines of world-class quality, produced in a sustainable manner, reflecting the distinctive flavors of the grapes, soil, and climate. The METIS team also knew Sokol Blosser had been looking to expand their vineyard holdings in Oregon.

 

METIS discretely approached Alison and Alex Sokol Blosser about the Kalita Vineyard acquisition opportunity. After touring the property with the METIS team, they immediately fell in love with the Vineyard and presented an offer.

 

Two other parties that METIS approached also put in simultaneous offers. Each offer was compelling, and all offers exceeded the Kalitas’ price expectation. Ultimately, Arthur and Sherry selected the Sokol Blosser offer and signed a letter of intent.

 

METIS stayed heavily involved throughout the Due Diligence period. METIS helped facilitate the Sokol Blosser team’s on-site viticultural evaluation, assisted in analyzing the financial feasibility of the vineyard, and helped to evaluate the long-term sustainability of developing the open, plantable acreage available for expansion. The METIS team also helped with the assignment of the existing fruit supply agreements to Sokol Blosser at closing, ensuring all fruit contracts would be honored for the 2021 harvest. METIS worked closely with the attorneys on both sides to ensure a smooth negotiation and execution of the definitive agreement. At no time did the Kalitas need to travel from New York to the vineyard to deal with any aspect of the due diligence process.

OUTCOME

Arthur and Sherry are thrilled to be handing the Vineyard over to Sokol Blosser knowing they will continue farming the vineyard in a sustainable manner. “We are sad to say goodbye to a beautiful vineyard that has given us so much pleasure since we first planted vines 21 years ago,” said Arthur Kalita. “But we are very pleased to turn over the vineyard to the Sokol Blossers, a family with 50 years of experience in the Oregon wine business and unparalleled commitment to sustainability in all phases of the farming and winemaking process.”

 

Sokol Blosser will apply for organic certification for Kalita Vineyard and will make a number of Pinot Noirs from Kalita Vineyard, including single-block wines. Sokol Blosser will keep the name of the vineyard, honoring Arthur and Sherry and their attention to sustainability and quality for the last 21 years.