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Gary Eberle is back in charge at winery 

A multi-million-dollar deal gives Eberle controlling interest

Gary and Marcy Eberle holding their award for Eberle Winery as the 2013 Winery of the Year.

Gary and Marcy Eberle holding their award for Eberle Winery as the 2013 Winery of the Year.

After 16 months away from the winery’s general manager role, following a takeover in January 2014, Gary and Marcy Eberle once again hold controlling interest in Eberle Winery.

The couple put together their finances and sought a loan for a multi-million-dollar deal that bought out Gary’s sister-in-law, Jeanne Giacobine, the surviving spouse of Gary’s late half brother Jim W. Giacobine, Jr., an inside source said. The Giacobine’s reportedly held 39-percent of the winery, while the Eberles held 35-percent. At least two other partners, Abe and Rob Flory, were also bought out, the source said.

“It’s been a year and a half, but we’ve been able to come to an amicable resolution with them, so we purchased their shares,” Marcy said in an interview. “We’re so happy. I can’t even tell you.”

Marcy said she and her husband now own 84 percent, which will protect them from losing their winery in the future.

“We know now that no one can hurt us again,” Marcy said. “It was a very tough 16 months. This is my husband’s heart and his life and his soul, and the thought that it could be lost killed us for 16 months. Now that it’s back, we’re in a bit of shock. We’re elated, and we’re grateful with the partners who stayed with us.”

The partners who stayed are Dick and Claudia Woodland, Marv and Judith Zeidler, Craig and Kathy Bonelli and Howie and Bev Steinbeck.

The Eberles returned to their winery at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and celebrated with bagels and mimosas, Marcy said.

Gary is currently out of town at a wine-judging at the California State Fair in Sacramento, but he is thrilled to have his winery back, Marcy said.

“It hit me hard when I faced the fact that I lacked majority control over this place,” Gary said in a press release. “Now the future is up to me and my wife Marcy to continue to develop the property and its wine to their utmost potential.”

Marcy was public relations director before the takeover and now holds the title of owner/general partner, though she’ll likely be in charge of marketing and event-planning. She said it will be pretty much business as usual at the winery, and she and her husband will be honoring all their contracts with grape-growers.

“The only thing that’s going to change is Gary’s back in charge,” she said.

Adding to their good times ahead, Gary Eberle has been selected to receive the 2015 California Wine Industry Achievement Award, which honors an individual or family who are pioneers and lifelong contributors to the wine industry. Eberle is the 17th person to receive the award with Robert Mondavi being the first.

“Gary considers Robert Mondavi his mentor, and now Gary is receiving it. He doesn’t consider himself to be Robert Mondavi’s equal, but he’s honored to receive the award,” Marcy said. “There’s a special event for him later in the month then we’re having a big shindig here at the winery after that. This is such a great year for us to get the winery back and for Gary to get the lifetime achievement award, it’ll help make this past 16 months melt away. 2015 is looking like a great year for the Eberles and everyone at Eberle Winery.

Eberle arrived in the region in 1973 and helped create Estrella River Winery, which produced 300,000 cases of wine each year. Later, he developed Eberle Winery, which currently produces 27,000 cases of wine each year. Eberle was one of three winemakers to create the Paso Robles Appellation and has been active in promoting the area as a leading wine-producing region.

According to a press release, Eberle says his winery will continue to use its estate vineyard for grapes and source to partners including Dick and Claudia Woodland for their fruit from the Patricia Diane Vineyard, Howie and Bev Steinbeck and others whose quality of grapes have helped create the prestige of the Eberle label. Gary and Marcy say they are also looking forward to working with their other partners Marvin and Judith Zeidler and Craig and Kathy Bonelli on this new chapter for Eberle Winery.

Eberle Winery is located at 3810 Highway 46 East, Paso Robles.

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