Finance executive and winery owner Bill Foley has closed a deal to purchase a large stake in the Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley. The hotel is currently owned and managed by Auberge Resorts, the holder of several other luxury properties, including nearby Auberge du Soleil. “We were looking for a new investor in the property and Bill was head and shoulders above the rest,” said Auberge CEO Mark Harmon. Auberge will continue to operate the property. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Based in Jacksonville, Fla., Foley is chairman of Fidelity National Financial, the nation’s largest title insurance company. In 1996, he took the plunge into wine, establishing Lincourt Vineyards in Santa Barbara. Since 2007, he has bought or taken a majority stake in multiple wineries, including well-known Santa Barbara property Firestone Vineyard, Napa boutique Cabernet label Merus and the New Zealand Wine Fund, a company with multiple Kiwi brands. In 2009, Foley bought Sonoma’s historic Sebastiani Winery. A year later he acquired Chalk Hill.
Located on 157 acres of oak trees and streams, Calistoga Ranch has been a popular upscale retreat for Napa Valley visitors for years. The property recently underwent a six-month, $22 million renovation. There are now 57 rooms, seven residences that owners can rent out and two restaurants.
Foley is also planning on adding a tasting room to the facility. He already owns a hotel in Santa Barbara County, Bacara, where he promotes his wines as well as those of his neighbors. He plans to adopt a similar approach in Calistoga. “I have three wineries in Napa, four in Sonoma and one in Lake County,” he told Wine Spectator. “I’m trying to create a cross-marketing opportunity.”