Kathryn and Craig Hall, the owners of Napa-based Kathryn Hall Vineyards, have purchased St. Supéry's 254-acre Hardester property in Pope Valley, in the northeast corner of the Napa Valley AVA. Neither party disclosed the price of the sale, which was reported between $8 million to $10 million.
Rutherford-based St. Supéry acquired the land in 1999 and completed planting of a 140-acre vineyard there in 2002. The site contains about 70 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest comprised of Merlot, Petite Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc.
Michaela Rodeno, CEO of St. Supéry, said the decision to sell resulted from a strategy change. When they initially purchased the property, they needed grapes to fuel expansion plans. Now they've chosen to limit production to current levels of about 100,000 cases. "Once we came to that conclusion, Hardester became superfluous," Rodeno said.
St. Supéry now owns 504 acres of vineyards, 470 acres at the Dollarhide Ranch in Pope Valley and the balance at their estate in Rutherford. That's enough, Rodeno said, to meet the winery's needs. "Our French owners are also somewhat debt-averse," she explained.
Most of the Hardester vineyard is on the Pope Valley floor, but Mike Reynolds, winemaker and general manager at Hall, said he thinks an additional 25 acres on gently sloping hills will be planted at an undetermined point in the future. "We're already planting 100 acres on four different properties [this year], so we're busy," he said.
Reynolds said most of the Hardester crop will be sold this year to other wineries, one of which is St. Supéry. In subsequent vintages an increasing portion of the grapes will go into the Hall Napa Valley brand, which costs $28 for the Merlot and $35 for the Cabernet.
With this purchase, Kathryn, the former U.S. ambassador to Austria, and Craig, a Texas entrepreneur, now own nearly 1,000 acres on five properties in Napa and Sonoma's Alexander Valley, with about 360 acres already under vine. Since acquiring a 50 percent interest in 1995 in Rutherford's 38-acre Sacrashe Vineyard, the Halls have spent over $40 million on vineyard land.
The couple has been vetting additional Napa Cabernet properties for the past year and they approached St. Supéry after hearing that Hardester was available. Reynolds said the Halls plan on making more purchases in the future. "We are continuing to pursue vineyard properties and we'd like to acquire additional premier vineyards in Napa County," Reynolds said.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions