Financial magnate-turned-vintner William Foley II has purchased Touring & Tasting, the Santa Barbara-based magazine and marketing company. It’s the latest in a long list of wine-related deals for Foley, who made his fortune as the founder of Fidelity National Financial and started his Foley Family Wines empire with the creation of Lincourt Wines in the Santa Ynez Valley in 1996. His portfolio now includes Foley Estates and Firestone Wines in Santa Barbara as well as multiple wineries in Napa, Sonoma, Washington state, and New Zealand. Earlier this year, he also launched the Foley Food & Wine Society, a high-end club of sorts that has a headquarters at the Bacara Resort in Goleta, where Foley also plays a supporting role in the new ownership arrangement.
“Foley Family Wines is fully committed to the growth and success of wine tourism globally,” said Foley in a press release. “It is exciting to see the positive economic impact wine tourism is having on regions and communities all over, and partnering with Touring & Tasting will help us continue to help fuel that growth.”
Touring & Tasting’s current president Paul Arganbright was happy to share the news with The Santa Barbara Independent on Thursday afternoon, prior to the press release. “We hadn’t put the business up for sale, and we hadn’t intended to market it, but we were pleased with the fairness of the offer and the way it was constructed,” said Arganbright, who founded the multi-faceted company with partners in 1995 and retains ownership of the company’s wine club and inventory. “It’s a win-win-win for everybody.”
Arganbright believes that Foley’s resources will help take the magazine and the marketing division — which includes social media campaigns, an online video channel, cruise program, and concierge service — to the national level. Already, there are plans to boost the circulation of the magazine, which is published twice a year, from 60,000 to 80,000, he explained. “He is committed to investing whatever initiatives make sense to grow the business and grow the exposure of the magazine,” said Arganbright, who believes that Foley saw a chance to help promote his various wineries and the food & wine society through Touring & Tasting‘s existing channels. “This will be a really big help to us in a lot of ways.”