Francois Pinault, owner of Chateau Latour in Pauillac, has bought Napa's Araujo Estate.
This takes the number of wine properties now owned by the French billionaire and his son Francois-Henri to four – Latour in Pauillac, Chateau Grillet in the northern Rhone, Domaine d’Eugenie in Vosne-Romanée and now Araujo in Napa. Pinault also owns chardonnay vines in Le Montrachet and Batard-Montrachet.
The price of the purchase was not disclosed, but is likely to have been at least US$300,000 per acre. The sale included the Eisele Vineyard, 38 acres of vines, the winery and existing stocks.
‘Araujo Estate and its jewel, the unique Eisele Vineyard, have been producing consistently one of the very best wines of the Napa Valley,’ said Frederic Engerer, CEO of the Pinault wine group, in a statement.
‘We would very much like to pay tribute to the exceptional work of Bart and Daphne Araujo, whose pioneering vision, dedication to excellence and attention to detail has built one of the most respected wine estates in the world.’
Bart and Daphne Araujo bought Eisele Vineyard, located just outside Calistoga, in 1990, although the vineyard itself dates back to 1884, and is known particularly for its cabernet sauvignon wines.
After the purchase, they hired Michel Rolland as consultant, and also converted the estate to biodynamic farming – something that Chateau Latour has itself been doing over the past few years.
In a letter to staff and clients, the former owners said that they had received an unsolicited expression of interest from the Artemis Group, owners of Latour, and were slowly convinced that they were ‘the perfect buyers for this amazing vineyard we have called home for 23 years’.
The Araujo family will stay at the estate until January 2014 to help with the transition, and the rest of the estate’s team will remain in place.
Written by Jane Anson