“We are back!” Gary Eberle told Wine Spectator, explaining that he and his wife, Marcy, have gained control of 82.9 percent of Eberle Winery. The vintner was a founder of the winery and one of the pioneers of California’s Paso Robles region, but was removed as head of the company in December 2013 in a surprise takeover.
“I know what happened, but I don’t understand why it happened,” said Eberle of the shakeup. At the time, Eberle owned 35 percent of the winery shares, while his brother Jim owned another 39 percent. But Jim, then 94, was being treated for Alzheimer’s disease, and his wife held power of attorney over his interests. When other minority partners joined with his brother’s shares, they voted Gary out.
Since then, Jim has passed away, and Gary and his wife have leveraged their home, pension and savings to purchase a majority interest. “My house was free and clear,” said Eberle. “Which is why I’m joking that we’re living in a cardboard box under the bridge. I have a mortgage that would gag a maggot.”
The minority partners who had ousted Eberle were not available for comment.
Eberle moved to the region in 1973 to help establish the Estrella River Winery before founding Eberle in 1979. The brand is known for Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah. “I’m going to get back on top in Paso Robles,” said Eberle. “Give me a year—more or less—and we’ll be back where we were and then some.”