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by Cyril Penn | April 23, 2014 | 5:00 PM

Spirits and wine company Pernod Ricard U.S.A -- which today announced it is strengthening its relationship with Southern Wine & Spirits -- may be buying Kenwood Vineyards from F. Korbel and Bros, according to industry sources.

F. Korbel and Bros announced a letter of intent to sell Kenwood Vineyards to Banfi Vintners back in March of 2012, but the deal was later terminated and F. Korbel and Bros. has continued to own and operate the landmark Sonoma Valley winery. Banfi initially inked a deal to buy both Kenwood and Valley of the Moon, though after Banfi pulled out, it cleared the way for West Coast Wine Partners to purchase Valley of the Moon Winery and the Lake Sonoma brand.

Executives with Korbel didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment or confirmation of a potential sale, though one management source basically acknowledged a deal involving Kenwood is in the works.

F. Korbel and Bros. acquired Kenwood Vineyards in its entirety in 1999, when it was producing less than 300,000 cases. It has since doubled its production.

Kenwood was founded in 1970.

F. Korbel and Bros includes Korbel Champagne Cellards, Korbel Brandy and ranks 12th among U.S. wineries by sales volume. The Heck family has owned and managed Korbel since 1954 and the Korbel brand has been marketed by Brown-Forman since 1965.

Pernod Ricard USA is part of publically traded Pernod Ricard SA, of France, which employs nearly 19,000 people. In addition to its huge spirits portfolio, the company produces Jacob's Creek and Brancott Estate of Australia, as well as Perrier-Jouët, G.H. Mumm and Mumm Napa. Pernod Ricard USA is based in New York City and has roughly 850 employees.

In the announcement, Pernod Ricard USA, said it is expanding its relationship with Southern Wine & Spirits to 33 markets, adding 4 Control States: Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi and Ohio -  making Southern the exclusive spirits broker for Pernod Ricard in all 17 Control State markets. Southern will represent Pernod Ricard USA for wine and spirits distribution in 16 markets.

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