Patrick Campbell, founder of Laurel Glen Vineyard, a Sonoma Mountain producer known for its Cabernet Sauvignons, has sold the winery to a group of investors led by wine-industry veteran Bettina Sichel. The deal includes the winery, 11 acres of vineyards and the Laurel Glen and Counterpoint brands. The price of the sale was not disclosed.
“I’ve been doing Laurel Glen for a long time and reached a point where I couldn’t take it too much further,” said Campbell, who originally put the winery on the market nearly four years ago. “It was time for the winery to move to new hands.” Campbell told Wine Spectator he’s more interested in producing less expensive wines and is developing several winery projects in Lodi and Argentina.
Sichel, who spent 8 years as the director of sales at Quintessa winery, was looking to invest in a winery with a well-established name. She was introduced to Laurel Glen through a friend. “What attracted me to Laurel Glen was the reputation that the brand has in the marketplace,” she said.
Campbell and his wife, Faith, purchased the 3-acre Laurel Glen Vineyard on the northern end of Sonoma Mountain in 1977. They expanded the vineyard, planting solely Cabernet Sauvignon and signed leases on nearby vineyards. Campbell debuted his first wine, a Sonoma Mountain Cabernet, in 1981. The initial vintages were well received, building a reputation for the winery, but were less successful in recent years.
The new owners plan to revitalize the winery with an emphasis on the vineyard. Sichel has enlisted the aid of viticulturist Paul Coturri to institute organic faming in the vineyard. She is also changing the winemaking team, bringing in David DeSante as winemaker and David Ramey as a consultant.
The majority of the winery’s grapes will now go into the Laurel Glen Cabernet while Sichel looks for a new vineyard source for the Counterpoint brand. “[I’m] not looking to reinvent this wine, I’m looking to see if it has potential to be greater,” she said.