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Napa’s Long Meadow makes major Rutherford acquisition

Napa Valley's Long Meadow Ranch has recently purchased 36.4ha (90 contiguous acres) of prime vineyard property in the Rutherford appellation.

‘Defining moment’: Ted Hall of Long Meadow Ranch

The winery now joins renowned names like Inglenook (fomerly Rubicon Estate), Quintessa, Beckstoffer and Beaulieu Vineyard as one of the 10 largest land holders in Rutherford.

The price has not been disclosed but Rutherford vineland, among the most prized in California, typically sells for more than US$200,000 per acre, or around US$500,000 per hectare.

The purchase combines four parcels of land currently planted to 30ha of vines — primarily Sauvignon Blanc, but 4.4ha of Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Merlot. Owner Ted Hall says the clay-based soil is ‘ideal for Sauvignon Blanc’ and adds he will change the plantings very little.

‘This is a defining moment for us,’ Hall said. He founded Long Meadow Ranch in 1989 with the purchase of 263ha in the Mayacamas range – only 6.4ha of which are currently planted to vine – where he also built the winery and where renowned winemaker Cathy Corison made the wine for Long Meadow throughout the 1990s.

‘[The acquisition] establishes us with a grape supply that will allow us to move forward,’ Hall said. He plans to expand his Sauvignon Blanc program by building a white wine production facility on the property.

About two hectares of currently fallow land will be used for non-vineyard agriculture and, along with LMR’s five existing — and adjacent — acres of gardens in Rutherford, will supply Long Meadow Ranch’s Farmstead Restaurant in nearby St Helena and the local farmer’s market with eggs, produce and honey.

The garden will also provide ‘educational opportunities’ for visitors, according to Hall, including a ‘Farm to Table boot camp’.

‘Ted and [son] Chris Hall have always looked at a piece of property in a more diverse way,’ said Paul Wagner, executive director of the Rutherford Dust Society, the appellation’s trade organisation.

Long Meadow Ranch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 was awarded 15.25/20 (84/100) in Decanter’s Napa and Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon panel tasting in the current issue of Decanter magazine.

Written by Courtney Humiston in Sonoma

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