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The long, involved saga surrounding bankrupt Legacy Estates, the owner of Freemark Abbey in St. Helena, is finally over. Jackson Family Wines, owned by Jess Jackson and his wife Barbara Banke, finalized the purchase after making a successful bid of $97 million for Freemark Abbey, Arrowood winery in Sonoma County and Byron winery in Santa Maria.

The auction ended in mid-August, but a question surrounded Jackson's bid regarding whether he would maintain a long-term contract Legacy Estates had with Wilson Daniels Ltd., a St. Helena distributor-importer. However, an agreement was reached with Wilson Daniels and the bid was accepted by the bankruptcy court.

Second high bidder was FAB Acquisition Co., a group comprising the Huneeus family, owner of Napa Valley's Quintessa Winery, and Bill Price, who founded Texas Pacific Group, which offered $94 million.

Legacy Estate filed for bankruptcy in November 2005. It had purchased Arrowood and Byron from Constellation Brands earlier in 2005 when Constellation sold off some of the assets of Robert Mondavi Winery, but Legacy was unable to meet its debt payments and defaulted.

Legacy was formed in 2000 by brothers Calvin and Devinder (known as Dev) Sidhu, and a year later they purchased Freemark Abbey. /Register

O'Brien Cellars partners with EQCA

O'Brien Cellars in Napa has announced it will partner with Equality California (EQCA), the state's largest lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender organization to campaign against the ban on same-sex marriages in the state.

"We believe in romance and the fundamental right to pursue happiness with whomever you love," said Bart O'Brien, who, along with his wife, Barb, opened the winery six years ago. "We are living our dream here at the winery and in getting to know the gay and lesbian couples who have visited the winery, we realized that they are denied the right to fully dream, and that's just wrong."

O'Brien will be the wines poured at all EQCA events in the state. /Register

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