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Michael Mondavi buys winery and vines

Michael Mondavi and his family are buying the Francis Mahoney Estate Winery - formerly Carneros Creek Winery – in southern Napa Valley, from Francis and Kathleen Mahoney.

They have also purchased the 109 hectare Aetna Springs Vineyard in Pope Valley, within the Napa Valley appellation.

The Carneros Creek sale includes about 10 hectares of land, including some vineyards, but not the bulk of Mahoney’s 65 hectares of vineyards in Carneros.

Mahoney will continue to produce his Mahoney Vineyards and Fleur de California wines at the winery, while Mondavi told decanter.com that he will make his I’M, Oberon, Bocce and Hangtime wines, up to around 45,000 cases in total.

Michael Mondavi and his father Robert founded Robert Mondavi Winery in 1966. Michael left the winery – subsequently bought by Constellation – in 2004 and founded Folio Wine Company with his members of his family. Folio produces wines, and imports and markets Danzante, Luce Della Vite, Frescobaldi and Ornellaia from Italy.

Mahoney was a Carneros Pinot Noir pioneer. He founded Carneros Creek in 1972, eventually producing more than 30,000 cases.

In 1998, investment banker Bill Hambrecht bought an interest in the winery, which was expanded and updated. In mid-2001, Mahoney left the winery to focus on his vineyards.

Hambrecht ran into financial difficulties and sold the Carneros Creek brand in 2004, although he and Mahoney kept the winery itself and Mahoney kept his land.

Aetna Springs Vineyard, which has 45 hectares under vine and potential for 10-12 more, recently gained notoriety when former owner Paul Maroon had four black bears killed because they were damaging his vineyard. Though legal, the incident was widely condemned by other growers and wineries.

Written by Paul Franson

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