Bill Foley is buying another Sonoma icon. His company, Foley Family Wines, has acquired Chateau St. Jean from Aussie wine giant Treasury Wine Estates. The deal includes St. Jean’s chateau in Kenwood, Calif., as well as a 6,000-square-foot visitors center and 39,000-square-foot production facility. The deal also includes Chateau St. Jean’s 79 acres of estate vineyards. Financial terms were not disclosed. Last year, according to Impact Databank, Chateau St. Jean made 329,000 cases.
“Chateau St. Jean is a Sonoma County icon, with almost 50 years of history in Sonoma Valley,” said Gerard Thoukis, CMO, Foley Family Wines. “The future strategy of this brand will aid Foley Family Wines in our desire to become the No. 1 luxury wine producer in the U.S.”
The winery has been a top hospitality destination for several years, much like another recent Foley purchase, Ferrari-Carano. In addition to the Chateau St. Jean facilities, Foley Family Wines will acquire a legacy use permit, allowing the company to host up to 30 events annually, including 24 special events a year and six other large gatherings, such as weddings. “Chateau St. Jean will continue serving as the preeminent location in Sonoma County for weddings, corporate and wine club member events,” added Thoukis. “Many of these are already booked for 2022.”
Right now, Chateau St. Jean’s wines are not being made at the estate. Looking ahead, Foley Family Wines plans to restore the production facility and eventually bring winemaking back. “Over time, restoration will take place to the estate vineyard, guest experience center and winemaking facility,” said Thoukis. “We intend to have a fully functioning estate winery by the 2022 harvest.”
Chateau St. Jean has produced wine since 1973 and is known for its vineyard-designated Chardonnay bottlings, as well as Cinq Cépages, a Bordeaux blend that was the first Sonoma wine to be named Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year in 1999 for its 1996 vintage.
The deal brings Chateau St. Jean into the Foley Family Wines fold with other Sonoma labels, including Chalk Hill, Sebastiani and Foley Sonoma, among others. Beyond Sonoma, Foley is present in numerous other wine regions, with Napa labels like Foley Johnson, the Central Coast’s Foley Estates and France’s Lucien Albrecht.
For more details on the sale and Foley’s strategy, read the full story at Shanken News Daily.