Foley Family Wines has returned to the acquisition trail in California by announcing its acquisition of Sonoma’s Chateau St. Jean from the Americas division of Treasury Wine Estates, owner of Penfolds in Australia.
Foley said it ‘plans to restore the winery to its former glory’.
A fee for the deal was not disclosed, but the purchase includes the historic 1920s chateau building, a 6,000-square-foot visitor centre, a winery facility and almost 32 hectares (79 acres) of estate vineyards.
Foley Family Wines was founded in the 1990s by businessman Bill Foley, who also owns NHL ice hockey team the Vegas Golden Knights.
Chateau St. Jean, which lies in the Valley of the Moon near to Kenwood, was established in 1973 and became known for its single-vineyard wines, especially Chardonnay, as well as its award-winning Cinq Cépages ‘Bordeaux’ red blend.
‘This is a rare opportunity to invest in a piece of Sonoma Valley history,’ said Bill Foley, CEO of Foley Family Wines (FFW).
‘We’re looking forward to adding Chateau St. Jean’s remarkable line-up of single-vineyard wines and its award-winning blend Cinq Cépages to our luxury portfolio.’
Wines are currently made off-site but FFW’s president, Shawn Schiffer, said the firm aims to change this. ‘We’re looking closely at how best to optimise the production facilities at Chateau St. Jean and eventually bring that winemaking back home.’
Schiffer added, ‘We are eager to refocus on the production of vineyard-designate wines from Sonoma County, and to invest in the estate vineyards that support Cinq Cépages.’
A ‘legacy use permit’ for the estate will also be transferred to FFW under the terms of the deal, giving it the possibility to host a range of events there, from weddings to wine visitor experiences.
There have been several deals for premium wine-producing estates and vineyards in California in recent years.
In June 2020, FFW said it had bought Sonoma County-based Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery for an undisclosed fee.
Last month, Treasury Wine Estates said it had agreed a deal to buy Frank Family Vineyards in Napa Valley for $315m – filling a gap for luxury Chardonnay in its Americas division.
In the same November 2021 announcement, Treasury also added said that it had mostly completed its planned divestment of ‘non-priority US portfolio brands and assets’, and said the programme had generated ‘total net cash proceeds of approximately A$300m’.