The owners of Saintsbury, one of California’s leading Pinot Noir producers, have decided to sell off their value wine line and refocus on high-end wines. The Carneros-based winery’s staff announced that it has sold its Garnet line to the principals of Silverado Winegrowers, a longtime grape supplier to Saintsbury. While Saintsbury will continue to make Carneros and Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, Silverado Winegrowers will produce Garnet as a separate brand, made from their estate-grown grapes, which have been the source for Garnet for many years. Details about the deal were not disclosed.
David Graves and Richard Ward founded Saintsbury in 1981, establishing one of the first wineries to focus on Carneros Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Two years later—the same year Carneros became an official appellation—they introduced the Garnet bottling. Known for its value, Garnet is a soft, fruity, early-drinking version of Carneros Pinot Noir. Production for Garnet always hovered around 10,000 to 12,000 cases, and the price never went above $20.
Silverado Winegrowers owns 11,000 acres of grapes in California, and has sold grapes to Saintsbury for nearly 30 years, including grapes that have been a key component for Garnet. “What we really want to do is continue the Garnet tradition in Carneros,” said Jonathan Goldman, one of the principals of Silverado Winegrowers. The goal is to make Garnet 100 percent estate-grown, he added. In addition to its Carneros plantings, Silverado Winegrowers also has Pinot Noir in Russian River, Monterey, Santa Barbara County and the Sonoma Coast.
“We’re very proud of being pioneers of Pinot Noir in California, but we also want to be part of the 21st century of Pinot Noir,” said Saintsbury founder Graves, explaining that Saintsbury will focus on its higher-end Pinot Noir bottlings. They include the Anderson Valley Cerise Vineyard ($45), Carneros appellation bottling ($30), and four single-vineyard Carneros bottlings. The Stanly Ranch single-vineyard wine is sourced from a Silverado Winegrowers vineyard, and Saintsbury will continue to purchase these grapes.
Silverado Winegrowers also purchased the 19,000-square-foot winery near downtown Sonoma where Garnet was being made, making the transition even smoother. “I really believe they’ll be great stewards of [Garnet], something that we’re very proud of,” said Graves.
Howard G Goldberg — New York, N.Y. — February 4, 2011 3:11pm ET
Frank C Brown — Charlotte NC — February 12, 2011 1:58pm ET
Leo Mccloskey — Sonoma, CA — February 24, 2011 9:36pm ET
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