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Bettina Sichel buys Laurel Glen

Laurel Glen Vineyard in Sonoma has been bought by Bettina Sichel for an undisclosed sum.

Sichel, a member of the Sichel family of Bordeaux that owns Chateau Palmer and Chateau d’Angludet among others, will ‘restore the estate to its former prominence,’ she has said.

She has a 20-year pedigree in the wine business, including a decade at Quintessa as sales and marketing director, where she is credited with creating its reputation as one of the Napa Valley’s most prestigious wineries.

Laurel Glen was developed by Patrick Campbell in the 1970s and is planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon. The first wine was released in 1981 and was ‘quickly recognised as one of California’s great Cabernets’, a statement says.

Stephen Brook, in The Wines of California, described the vineyards – planted more than 250m high, ‘above the fog line’ – as ‘marginal’, the wines ‘superb’ in a ‘rich ripe year such as 1994’ and less successful in cooler years.

Sichel intends to convert the vineyard to fully organic viticulture, along with a team consisting of viticulturalist Phil Coturri, consultant David Ramey and winemaker David DeSante.

Laurel Glen produces two wines, Laurel Glen Cabernet Sauvignon and Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon, retailing at US$60 and $30 respectively.

Founder and former owner Patrick Campbell will stay on as consultant, and will continue to produce wines in Lodi, California and in Mendoza, Argentina with his new company, Tierra Divina Vineyards.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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