Bill Foley

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Foley, who amassed his fortune selling home title insurance, has, in the last three years, bought up wineries and vineyard estates at an astonishingly rapid rate, and at bargain prices. In April, Foley made yet another winery acquisition, purchasing a majority share in Crushpad, a Northern California custom winemaking business.

Other purchases include Chalk Hill Winery and Sebastiani Vineyards in Sonoma (where Crushpad will relocate), Kuleto Estate and Merus in Napa Valley, Three Rivers Winery in Walla Walla, Wash, and Clifford Bay and Vavasour in New Zealand. These are add-ons to Foley’s home-grown Foley Estates, Lincourt and Firestone wines from Santa Barbara County, and EOS Estate in Paso Robles.

As a businessman, Foley is a shark feeding on recessionary chum, and that cannot be faulted. Yet it remains to be seen whether his rapidly expanding wine empire will pan out.