Bill Harlan, owner of cult California Cabernet labels Harlan Estate and Bond, has purchased the 21-acre former Diamond Oaks Winery in Oakville, next door to his own Oakville property. The purchase includes the winery and surrounding grounds, including 4 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon vines and 2 acres of olive trees, but not the Diamond Oaks inventory or brand. No purchase price was disclosed.
Harlan calls the move "strategic," adding that he didn't want the property to go into the hands of someone he didn't know. He's unsure of his plans for the site. "I'll figure out what to do with it eventually," he said.
The facility—with a production capacity of 60,000 cases annually—has been home to three different brands. Originally it was home to Vichon wines, founded in 1980 by a group of winery and restaurant professionals looking to develop food-friendly wines. Mondavi bought the brand and property in 1985, but the company later moved the brand overseas to one of its French projects. The winery was then used for La Famiglia di Robert Mondavi wines beginning in 1997, a Mondavi project focused on Italian varietals.
Both Vichon and the Mondavi portfolio were sold, and the property switched hands again in 2003, purchased by Diamond Oaks proprietor Dinesh Maniar. A real-estate developer, Maniar at one point owned 550 acres of vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, but recently filed for bankruptcy and has been selling his holdings.
Takeshi Kakizaki — San Mateo — January 29, 2010 12:06am ET
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