Mission Hill owner to buy CedarCreek Estate Winery

Extremely successful B.C. winemaker Anthony von Mandl is expanding his empire by buying CedarCreek Estate Winery for an undisclosed amount, he announced January 24.

Anthony von Mandl is one of B.C.'s most successful wine entrepreneurs

Extremely successful B.C. winemaker Anthony von Mandl is expanding his empire by buying CedarCreek Estate Winery for an undisclosed amount, he announced January 24.

The deal is expected to close in early February.

Von Mandl's best known wine division is his Mission Hill Estate Winery. His Mark Anthony Brands operates at least nine other wine brands, including Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery, Fork in the Road, Mike Weir Wine and Painted Turtle.

Von Mandl rose to prominence decades ago when he created Mike's Hard Lemonade. He also owns Delta's Turning Point Brewery, which produces Stanley Park-branded beer.

He plans to create a new company called VMF Estates, which will separately operate the 28-year-old CedarCreek. It is unknown whether CedarCreek founder Ross Fitzpatrick or his son, winery president Gordon Fitzpatrick, will remain with the company.

Calls to CedarCreek were not immediately returned.

CedarCreek ranks among B.C.'s largest wineries, producing 411,000 litres in 2012.

"Our family has long admired the pioneering achievements of Ross, Linda, and Gordon Fitzpatrick," said von Mandl in a release.

"The Fitzpatrick family has consistently produced some of the top wines in the Okanagan Valley."

Von Mandl approached the Fitzpatricks because the winery was not for sale.

CedarCreek is one of a number of wineries that were founded by an entrepreneur and then passed to a second generation. Sons of founders are also actively running B.C. wineries such as Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, Grey Monk Estate Winery and Summerhill Pyramid Winery.

"Wow. The sale really surprises me," industry veteran and Time Estate Winery principal Harry McWatters said when BIV alerted him of the sale. "Now Anthony has waterfront property on both sides of the lake. He won't have any problem figuring out where to dock his boat on the west side."

McWatters said the sale is a good thing because it shows confidence in the region's wine industry.

"Anthony's invested very heavily in the wine industry here and I'm certainly thrilled that he's spending his money in the Okanagan valley. It makes for a more credible and strong wine industry here," said McWatters, who is likely best known for founding Sumac Ridge before selling it to what is now Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ).

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom