S. Anderson Vineyard, one of California's most respected sparkling-wine producers, is being sold by the Anderson family to Ray Signorello, owner of Napa Valley's Signorello Vineyards, and Cliff Lede, a Canadian investor. The purchase price was not disclosed.
The sale includes the Napa Valley winery, located just outside Yountville, in the Stags Leap District, as well as the caves, visitor center, brand, inventory and the 50-acre vineyard -- planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot -- that surrounds the property. Anderson's 60-acre Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyard in the Carneros district was not included in the deal but remains for sale.
"We've been here 30 years, and we had a lot of fun doing it," John Anderson said. "It just came time for my mother to retire and for my wife and I to move on." The sale is expected to be final this week.
Signorello, whose winery is located in the Oak Knoll area just south of Stags Leap, was not available for comment, but said in a statement: "Cliff and I have been interested in investing in a Stags Leap District property for several years. We have always been great fans of the wines of the region and have been very impressed with the Cabernets coming from S. Anderson."
Stanley and Carol Anderson planted their first vineyard on the property in 1971 and began making wine in 1979, driven by a passion for sparkling wine. Stanley died in 1994, and as sales of California sparkling wine stagnated, the family has been increasingly focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which thrive in Stags Leap.
Lede, according to Anderson, is an avid wine collector who runs a construction company in Canada. "I think he is going to continue to de-emphasize sparkling wine," Anderson said.
The Anderson family will remain in Napa Valley but has no plans to return to the wine business. "My wife and I are interested in trying new things. We might actually follow John Scharffenberger's lead and go from sparkling wine to chocolate," Anderson said. "Who knows? That's just one of our ideas."