The Skalli family has agreed to sell Napa’s St. Supéry Vineyards and Winery to Chanel, Inc., the global fashion firm. The deal will be completed later this month and includes the Rutherford winery and 1,500 acres of land, split between two estates. There will be no significant changes in operations or management, the Skallis said in a statement.
“[Founder] Robert Skalli has been looking for someone to continue the legacy,” Emma Swain, CEO for St. Supéry, told Wine Spectator, adding that it was Chanel’s interest in long-term growth and belief in the winery’s potential that drew Skalli to selling to the fashion house.
“When you’re a winery in Napa Valley, your focus has to be on long term and quality,” said Swain, noting that for the last six and a half years, St. Supéry has invested significantly in vineyards and production. They believe Chanel will carry on that investment.
Founded in 1989, St. Supéry has long been one of the largest family-owned wineries in Napa Valley, with over 500 acres of vineyards and a winery along Highway 29 in Rutherford with the capacity to produce 150,000 cases a year. The brand is a rarity, producing that volume completely from estate-grown fruit, yielding wines ranging from good-value Sauvignon Blanc to high-end Bordeaux-style blends.
Skalli’s family has been in the wine business in southern France since the 1960s, and Robert joined the business in 1974, working at Les Chais du Sud, a family firm that sells bulk wine in France and abroad.
During Skalli’s travels, he became captivated by Napa Valley. In 1982 he purchased a 1,500-acre cattle ranch in the northeast mountains of Napa Valley and began planting vineyards. Skalli later purchased an additional 56 acres in Rutherford and built the estate winery, which is well known for its visitor experience.
Fashion house Chanel, Inc., is no stranger to the wine industry, but this is its first move in the United States. The firm, owned by the Wertheimer family, purchased Château Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux in 1994 and Château Canon in St.-Emilion two years later. It also owns the négociant Ulysse Cazabonne.
“I am delighted to hand over St. Supery to such a well-regarded company that understands luxury brands and will continue to enhance this special property,” said Skalli in a statement.