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james suckling uncorked

The Italian Connection to Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Sale


Posted: Aug 1, 2007 12:18pm ET

I just got off the phone with Piero Antinori and we had a short discussion about his recent acquisition of part of the famous Napa Valley estate of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. He said that his family was still discussing the percentage it would be taking in the deal, but that Ste. Michelle Estate would have the majority.

What was sort of funny was that Piero was contacted a few months ago directly by Warren Winiarski, the founder of Stag’s Leap, about the sale. The two men had been friends for decades and it seems that Warren almost insisted that Piero buy his winery.

“One day Warren called me and asked if I would be interested in something in the Stag’s Leap area,” Piero said. “I love the region, and I know it all very well, but we have our own wine estate to deal with now. We have a lot to do there. So I told him that I was not interested.”

Piero told his friend to send him the details on what he was talking about and he would take a glance at it. “I had no idea that he was talking about his own estate!” Piero said.

Anyway, to make a long story short, Piero told Warren that he didn’t have the money to buy the property, but that he would ask his partners in Washington’s Ste. Michelle. They make the red Col Solare together. And the company imports Antinori wines to the States.

Representatives from Ste. Michelle met with Warren and they apparently got along very well. “It’s sort of strange, but there were only two or three other companies involved in the purchase,” Piero said. “Most of the time it is a question of many more buyers, and the highest bidder winning, but Warren didn’t seem to want that.”

Piero said Winiarski’s biggest concern was finding the right buyer to secure the future of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Let’s hope this is the case. With the Antinori family on board, it’s good news.

“I am really happy because it is a beautiful site,” said Piero. “And we can make great wines. The vineyards are fantastic. In fact, we have to make great wines!”

Peter Czyryca
August 1, 2007 5:42pm ET
Interesting...the days of family ownership are dwindling. How long until Kosta Browne is bought by Fosters?
John Lin
TW —  August 2, 2007 1:47am ET
....another one bites the dust...and into the fold of the conglomerate wine web...

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