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Bankruptcy Update – Diamond Oak, Renwood, Stevenot

With only one of 2009’s bankruptcy cases completed (Conti Estate/Charles B. Mitchell), 2010 is shaping up to be a bare-knuckle brawl as many of the current case contenders harden positions and sharpen their legal attacks.

Wine Industry Insight has covered the latest developments in New Vine’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a separate article.


Diamond Oaks Vineyard has been ordered to deliver a vast laundry list of documents  for a Procedure 2004 examination to attorneys for secured creditor Hartford Life. The examination is the bankruptcy equivalent of discovery. The deadline for delivery of the documents is Jan. 15.

The complete discovery order is available here for VIP Premium subscribers.

The next bankruptcy court hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m., Feb. 2 in the  Santa Rosa courtroom of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California..


A hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m., Jan. 20 on Renwood Group’s request to allow its subsidiary, Renwood Winery, to file documents under seal. The hearing will take place in Sacramento courtroom of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California.

Renwood Winery has not filed for bankruptcy. According to Robert I. Smerling’s declaration, Renwood Group owns 96 percent of Renwood Winery and he serves as CEO of both companies.

Winery creditor W. J. Deutsch & Sons has opposed the request.

According to Renwood Group’s court request, “Winery’s Board of Directors has yet to decide whether to disclose Winery’s financial performance data to Group, with the main concern being the discovery by third parties of this non-debtor’s financial performance.” The filing calls that data, “the most jealously-guarded information in the wine & spirits industry.”

The Deutsch objection filed with the court insists that Renwood Group’s request failed to offer evidence of the data’s sensitivity. The filing also stated that, “Winery, which has the same CEO as Group and which is owned 96% by Group independently made the decision not to provide the required data is not credible.”


As previously reported by Wine Industry Insight, Golden Eagle Estates’s court filings stated that it had a purchase agreement from Oliveto Distributing for much of the operation. Bay Sierra Financial, the primary secured lender, agreed to modify terms of the debt, provided that Stevenot could make specific payments and provide documentation concerning the sale.

According to its most recent court filing, Bay Sierra has asserted that Stevenot has not met the agreed upon terms.

A hearing on the issue is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., Jan. 13 in the Modesto courtroom of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California.