As a tribute to W. Mark Felt. Sr., the Watergate informant otherwise known as Deep Throat who died yesterday in Sonoma County, this journalist would like to introduce Big Gulp, his very own informant, who leaked that Los Olivos-based Foley Wine Group, has purchased Sonoma’s Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery.
The property was originally planted by Franciscan missionaries in 1825 and later acquired by patriarch Samuele Sebastiani in 1904, who steadily grew the venture into a family empire, replete with sibling rivalries worthy of Falcon Crest. Big Gulp (yep, fresh out of good porno names) could not confirm a purchase price, but did relay that the news came during a company holiday party, which he derided as a ?caddy swim,? a reference to a scene in the film Caddy Shack in which lowly golf caddies were permitted a brief respite in the country club pool.
After bottles of wine and salamis were distributed to staffers, CEO Richard Cuneo announced that, pending due diligence, the sale of Sebastiani will be complete come mid-January. The winery joins a portfolio that also boasts Foley’s Firestone Vineyard (known as much for its scion Andrew Firestone’s turn on the reality show The Bachelor as its wine) and Napa-based Merus, whose logo is an ?M? upon which a graphic designer has scribbled in anguished red.
Cuneo characterized the acquisition as positive for all parties and suggested that few, if any, personnel changes will occur. This bodes well for Big Gulp and his friends in the media who depend on his employee discount on wines like the one served Pope Benedict at last April’s papal visit to the White House.
The sale of Sebastiani follows rumors that at least two?beverage behemoths attempted to purchase the winery. Allegedly, these were Gallo and Diageo, which I personally think should merge and become ?Galileo,? a fitting name for a company that inspires one to peer through the bottom of a glass tilted toward the night sky (and no pesky popes to put one under house arrest for heliocentrism).