May 8, 2019Sun World International sells vineyards to focus on fruit breeding, licensing
Grapes grower Sun World International (Sun World) will sell its leased and owned California farming property to an investor group, to focus on breeding and licensing of stone fruit and table grapes varieties.
The investor group has contracted with Sun Pacific to farm the vineyards, which contain premium red, green and black table grape varieties. The acquired entity will be called Famous Vineyards, according to a press release announcing the change.
Sun World Innovations, the company’s technology, breeding and licensing business, will be the focus of the company’s resources going ahead. Sun World is owned by Renewable Resources Group (RRG), a California-based asset management firm specializing in sustainable investing.
“We’re convinced of our team’s limitless potential to break new ground in fruit breeding and genetics,” said Sun World executive vice president and head of Sun World Innovations, David Marguleas. “By focusing additional investment on this side of the business, we intend to accelerate growth in a meaningful way.”
The company retains its SUN WORLD brand, global fruit and intellectual property licensing business and longstanding table grape and stonefruit variety development program. All business entities will be operated as Sun World Innovations at transaction close and will be headquartered in Palm Desert, California.
Included in the transaction are Sun World’s farmland in California’s San Joaquin and Coachella Valleys. The understanding is that the acquired land will continue to be farmed for table grapes. Jason Fuller, VP of Sales for Sun World has been named VP of Sales for Famous Vineyards. Fuller expressed enthusiasm for the transition and noted, “We are committed to maintaining the strong supply programs and relationships built over the years
Current Sun World CEO, Merrill Dibble, will stay on to work closely with all parties to manage a smooth transition. “As enthusiastic as we are about advancing our breeding and licensing business, we’re mindful of Sun World’s farming heritage and the sale of this land was a carefully considered decision,” said Dibble.
“Our understanding that the new owner plans to farm the acreage was critical to us in terms of our colleagues’ continued employment,” continued Dibble. “RRG has invested significantly in Sun World. They planted new vines and brought their expertise in operations and sustainability to virtually every aspect of our business. There’s every reason to feel optimistic about the future of this land and the people who’ll farm it.”