First it had the Napa vineyard, then the Napa winemaker, now the Napa winery. At last, Chalone Wine Group has all the pieces in place for its new Cabernet-based brand, Provenance Vineyards.
The company has purchased a winery, located in Rutherford, Calif., along Highway 29, that belonged to Beaucanon, which is currently relocating to a facility in the city of Napa. Chalone has not yet released the transaction price.
CWG started Provenance in 2000, seeking to add a high-end Napa Valley Cabernet to its portfolio, which had been dominated by Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, made under brands such as Acacia, Chalone and Edna Valley.
The first step, in February 2000, was the $14.5 million purchase of Hewitt Vineyard, a 57-acre site in Rutherford that has long been a source for Beaulieu Vineyard's Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet. In June that year, Provenance hired respected winemaker Tom Rinaldi, who had worked at Duckhorn Vineyards in Napa Valley for 23 years. The first wine, a 1999 Rutherford Cabernet made from purchased grapes, was released in late 2001.
The purchase of the winery represents the last major step. "I can look over and see Hewitt [from the new facility]," said Rinaldi. "We're making a statement about Rutherford Cabernet, so this is ideal."
Rinaldi expects to make about 39,000 cases of Provenance wines this year, with bottlings of the Hewitt Cabernet, an Oakville Cabernet and a Carneros Merlot anticipated. The new winery is slated for renovation, so during this harvest, some of the wines will continue to be made at a custom-crush facility.
In addition to the winery, CWG also obtains the surrounding 45 acres of vineyards, which are planted to Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Rinaldi plans to replace the Chardonnay with Sauvignon Blanc; the red grapes are currently under contract to BV.
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