Stuart Sloan has exited the wine business as quietly as he entered it. The Seattle-based businessman, who settled in Napa Valley and made his first Cabernet Sauvignon in 2000, told Wine Spectator that he has sold his Rutherford property.
Sloan, 67, produces around 600 cases of a Cabernet blend each year from his 12-acre vineyard in the hills above the Auberge du Soleil hotel. His wines were known for their dense, opulent style and high prices, with the 2007 vintage selling for $600 a bottle. Always private, Sloan confirmed the sale but would not provide further details or even disclose the identity of the buyer. Rumors have swirled through Napa for a week, with reports of investors from Hong Kong or other possible buyers.
A longtime wine lover with an interest in Bordeaux and Napa Cabernet, Sloan decided to become a vintner after several trips to Napa and Sonoma in the 1990s. He contacted David Abreu to help him find a site and spent three years looking for the right location to start a winery. In 1998 he purchased the property and planted the 12 acres to Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot.
Mark Aubert oversaw winemaking on Sloan’s first wine, which was released in 2004. For subsequent vintages, Sloan hired Martha McClellan as his winemaker. Sloan also employed Bordeaux-based consultant Michel Roland. The early releases gained critical acclaim including a 99-point score for the 2002 Cabernet.