Gallo buys key Wash. wine brands

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- Washington's wine industry is marking a new milestone with word that the world's largest privately-owned winery has bought two longtime Washington brands.

E. & J. Gallo Winery announced the purchase of Columbia Winery and Covey Run Wine from Ascentia Wine Estates on Monday. The price was not disclosed.

Columbia Winery is Washington's first premium winery, originally founded as Associated Vintners in 1962. Covey Run has been operating since 1982.

Brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo founded their winery in Modesto, Calif. in 1933, and the family continues to operate the company. Brands include Gallo Family Vineyards and Barefoot Cellars.

Washington ranks second in premium wine production behind California, with more than 740 wineries and 43,000 acres planted in wine grapes.