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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Sold to Antinori and Ste Michelle in Major Napa Deal

One of the most famous names in California wine has been sold. Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, a Napa Valley winery recognized as a consistent producer of great wines, is being sold to a partnership of Italian winemaker Marchese Piero Antinori and Ste Michelle Wine Estates, the giant Washington state wine company.

Warren Winiarski, 79, his wife, Barbara, founded Stag's Leap in 1972. The winery's first vintage, a 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon, played a key part in the famous Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976 that put California wines on the map in a head to head tasting with wines from Bordeaux.

The sale includes the Stag's Leap brand, the SLV and Fay estate vineyards and the winery. Winiarski retains the Arcadia Vineyard and will provide grapes to the Antinori and Ste Michelle.

Antinori and Ste Michelle have another joint venture, Col Solare, a wine produced in Washington. Ste Michelle's brands include Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Crest, Erath Vineyards and Conn Creek.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not a surprise that SLWC was sold. The timing is sooner than most insiders would have expected. Most assumed that the winery wouldn't be sold until after WW had passed on.
This is definately WW maintaining his final control over who will run the winery, since G2 has decided not to carry on the family legecy.
Most people don't realize the level of attachment that WW has to his beloved vines. These vines and terroir have been his passion 24/7 365 days a year for more than 30 years; and that his decision to sell is probably the single most difficult decision he has made since he began making wine.
God Bless Warren and those beautiful vineyards.
This is the end of an era - one that I could never have imaged.