BIG MONEY MAY RESTORE PANTHER CREEK TO GLORY

The other month, we brought you the Bomb pinot noir. Made by Tony Rynders (of Domaine Serene fame), it’s a big, fruit-laden wine of substantial proportions.

Then last month, we offered the Carden, the more elegant counterpoint.  This one is also made by Rynders, for the same ownership.

Now we are taking the next logical step and offering Tony’s own wine, from his Tendril Cellars. There are several bottlings of Tendril including the White Label (his ‘entry level’ wine), the Tightrope, and the C-Note. The latter is a $100 wine that may be the most honestly named wine in Oregon.

Rynders made the news lately by being appointed as head winemaker of the venerable Panther Creek Wine Cellars. The Panther Creek brand vaulted to success under the direction of Ken Wright back in late ’80s and early ’90s.  Ken left to start his own winery, and Panther Creek continued under new ownership. It sold again some while back  to a prominent Eugene, Oregon family. Over the years the wines were sometimes good, sometimes not as good, but the brand image was unable to retain the luster it had under Ken Wright.

Enter Edward Bronfman of Bacchus Capital. They purchased Panther Creek, moved it out of old power station in McMinnville, and hired Rynders to oversee the winemaking.

This is big news because Bronfman and Bacchus have real money. The Bronfman family owned and operated Seagram, a major wine and spirits player, until a couple of years ago when they were bought out by Diageo, a bigger player in the wine and spirits industry. With Bacchus, Bronfman has the money and know-how to vault a brand like Panther Creek back into national prominence. In fact, he promises to do exactly that, all while keeping the brand to a modest “10,000 cases of high end wine,” he told me at the Panther Creek launch event.

For Rynders, it promises a return to a high-profile position that could eventually lead to greater acclaim, even compared to his Domaine Serene days.  Certainly he now has a management and finance team capable enough to create that success. Time — and the wines — will tell.


Older Post Newer Post