Long Meadow Ranch, a Napa Valley food-and-wine producer that focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon, is investing heavily in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley, purchasing 145 acres of land from the Corby family. The deal is reported to be one of the region’s largest viticultural land purchases in the past decade, and includes a 69-acre vineyard planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Neither side would disclose the terms of the sale, though one source familiar with the deal estimated it was for more than $100,000 per planted acre.
The Corby family established the vineyard in the 1980s near the hamlet of Philo, bordering the Navarro River. It was the property’s location and diverse mix of elevations and soil types that appealed to Long Meadow Ranch. “It’s a very interesting mix of traditional California clones and Dijon clones,” Ted Hall, the firm’s CEO and president, told Wine Spectator. The property also has water rights.
Long Meadow Ranch had been looking for a property in the area for some time. The company had considered alternative places to grow Pinot Noir, including Sonoma Coast, but felt that the growing conditions were ideal in Anderson Valley. “The way we look at it is Cabernet is to Rutherford as Pinot Noir is to Anderson Valley,” Hall said. “We think we have a chance to make really classic Burgundian wines.”
The deal is another sign of Anderson Valley’s continued growth as a top region—and of Pinot Noir’s increasing popularity. Long Meadow Ranch joins a group of Sonoma and Napa producers who have invested in the area, such as Duckhorn, Jackson Family Wines and Ferrari-Carano. In 2009, Cliff Lede bought Breggo Cellars, renaming it Fel, and acquired the highly regarded Savoy Vineyard.
As part of the expansion, Long Meadow Ranch has hired Stéphane Vivier, who makes the wines at HDV and has his own label, Vivier, to produce the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The wines will be made under the Long Meadow Ranch Anderson Valley Estate label, with some of the grapes possibly going into a second label. The company is converting the vineyard to organic farming, similar to its two Napa estates.
Ted and Laddie Hall founded the winery with son Chris in 1989 when they revitalized the Long Meadow Ranch property in the Mayacamas Mountains. (Ted may be best known for his time as chairman of the board at Robert Mondavi Winery before it was bought by Constellation.) Established in the late 1800s, the ranch was abandoned during Prohibition. The couple now produces Cabernet, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc from estate vineyards in Mayacamas and Rutherford. In addition to grapes, the family grows fruits and vegetables, produces olive oil and raises cattle. They also operate a farmstead in St. Helena with a restaurant, market and general store.