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California Winemaker Reinvests in the Future of Family Vineyard

Babcock Winery & Vineyards sits on 100 acres on the western edge of the Santa Ynez Valley in northern Santa Barbara County, California. For more the 30 years, the family-owned business has produced some of the finest wines in California, most at the hands of its award-winning winemaker, Bryan Babcock, who is also the winery’s General Manager and Vice President. In 2010, Unison approached Babcock with an offer to acquire the cell site on the family vineyard. Babcock is secure in knowing he received best value for the site.

CHALLENGE

The cell tower site was generating an acceptable level of rental income, but Babcock was concerned that the shrinking economy and the unstable U.S. dollar might erode the long-term value of his cell site. He had been looking to sell but didn’t have the knowledge or expertise to contact carriers or cell tower companies to negotiate a deal. “I’m just one more guy on Route 246,” said Babcock. “I’m not in the cell site business, whereas Unison is.”

SOLUTION

Unison’s capital payment for acquiring the cell site gave Babcock peace of mind in knowing that he captured the site’s value now. This allowed him to reinvest in his family’s business, thus ensuring that another generation of Babcock winemakers will continue.

RESULTS

Injection of capital

Babcock used the payment for operating expenses, such as diesel fuel for the machinery on the family vineyard and a new barrel-aging facility.

Revenue potential

In addition to the capital payment, Babcock anticipates future income from revenue upside with Unison, should the site attract new qualified ground leases.

Expert assistance

Babcock said Unison’s representative was very helpful, and the entire process from contact to closing was timely and efficient.

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