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Codorniu to sell controversy-hit Sonoma estate

Codorniu-owned Artesa Vineyards is to sell its Sonoma County estate, but the group denied the move is connected to protests by environmental groups over its planned vineyard there.

Codorniu subsidiary Artesa wants $1.5m for the estate. Image credit: Coldwell Banker Brokerage

Artesa, which is owned by Spain’s Codorniu Raventos family, said the 131-hectare property near Annapolis is ‘no longer part of its growth strategy’ and has been put up for sale with Coldwell Banker Brokerage. The asking price is $1.5m.

The move was welcomed by local environmental campaigners, who have accused Artesa of planning to uproot Redwood trees to plant vines – a claim the company has disputed.

An Artesa spokesperson told Decanter.com that the decision to sell up ‘had nothing to do with concerns expressed by opponents to the vineyard plan’.

Artesa’s president, Arthur O’Connor, said, ‘The Sonoma site was a stunning setting, but we’ve decided to sell the land as part of our continued focus in Napa Valley.’ Its Estate vineyard in Carneros is now the firm’s main operation.

‘We’ve been working since 2010 to realign our vineyards with our brand strategy,’ said O’Connor. Artesa has already sold the Ridgeland vineyard in Alexander Valley and is in the process of selling its Foss Valley vineyard in Napa’s Atlas Peak region.

Late last year, a Sonoma County judge questioned the validity of the firm’s environmental impact study for its vineyard expansion plan at Annapolis.

Artesa argued that its proposed vineyard was on land ‘zoned for agricultural use’ and said the judge misunderstood its report.

The firm believes that ‘should someone else move forward on developing the property, the judge’s decision will easily be overturned by a more knowledgeable court’, the Artesa spokesperson said.

Written by Chris Mercer

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