Ascentia to sell wines to Gallo, Accolade: source

NEW YORK Fri Jun 1, 2012 7:51pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - California's Ascentia Wine Estates is near a deal to sell its Columbia wine brand to E&J Gallo Winery and its Geyser Peak brand to Australia's Accolade Wines, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday.

The deals, which together could fetch between $50 million and $100 million, are expected to be announced on Monday, according to the source.

In addition to Columbia, Gallo is expected to buy Covey Run, said the source, who asked not to named because the discussions were not public.

The deal would give Gallo its first wines from the state of Washington, which is the second-biggest wine producer in the United States behind California and home to Altria Group Inc's (MO.N) Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Earlier this month, Ascentia announced the sale of its Idaho-based Ste. Chapelle Winery to Precept Wine.

Ascentia, based in Healdsburg, California, has been advised by San Francisco investment bank Demeter Group.

Executives at Ascentia, Gallo and Accolade were not immediately available for comment late on Friday.

(Reporting By Martinne Geller)

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