Napa Valley Updates

Monday, May 21, 2007

Who Owns Napa Valley's Vineyards?

By Mick Winter

Based on an article originally published in the May 2001 issue of Wine Business Monthly

Who is the biggest vineyard property owner in Napa County? Are the English/Australians/French taking over the valley? Are faceless corporations headquartered far away from the wine country making decisions that affect local policy? We've attempted to answer these questions through surveys, research, and the cooperation of more than 150 wineries and vineyard owners.

According to the Napa County Department of Agriculture 2000 Crop Report, in the fall of 2000 there were a total of 40,016 acres (28,242 red, and 11,774 white) actually planted to winegrapes. These grapes were planted on vineyards ranging in size from a fraction of an acre up to hundreds of acres.

The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reports that there are more than 245 bonded wineries in Napa County (many wine producers are not bonded themselves but use other bonded facilities). The Napa Valley Vintners Association has more than 180 members, and the Napa County Grape Growers Association has 300 members. And there are well over 1,000 vineyard owners in Napa County.

While this report does not cover all vineyard owners, it does list the major players, and reveals who owns the best-known wineries and vineyards. We've also thrown in a few celebrities, and some of the more interesting and unusual vineyard owners.

In addition to this list, you'll find two others. One shows the largest owners of Napa County grape acreage, currently led by:
  1. Laird Family Estate
  2. Diageo (Beaulieu Vineyard, Sterling Vineyard, Mumm Napa Valley)
  3. Robert Mondavi (Robert Mondavi Winery, La Famiglia di Robert Mondavi, and half of Opus One Winery)
  4. Foster's Brewing Group/Beringer Blass Wine Estates (Beringer Vineyard, St. Clement, and Stag's Leap Winery)

The other list shows wineries/vineyards whose owners are based outside California. Current top rankers are:
  1. Diageo (England)
  2. Foster's Group/Beringer Blass Estate Wines (Australia)
  3. Donald Hess - The Hess Collection (Switzerland, although owner Hess is moving to Argentina)
  4. Robert Skalli, Skalli Corp - St. Supéry Winery (France)
  5. Antinori - Atlas Peak (Italy)

To answer our opening questions, the largest single owner of vineyards is Napa-based Laird Family Estate, with more than 2000 acres. The English (whose combined acreage is more than 2200 acres), followed by the French (more than 1300 acres) and Australians (more than 900 acres), are indeed controlling a significant part of the county's vineyards. And large corporations such as Diageo, Allied-Domecq and Constellation Brands, some with many products other than wine, are playing an increasingly major role in decisions affecting the Napa Valley and California wine industry. However, locally-owned wineries of all sizes are thriving as well, and very active in determining the present and future of the Napa County wine industry.

Significant Wineries, Vineyards
and Owners in Napa County

Allied Domecq owns William Hill Winery in Napa, which has 200 acres in vineyards. In addition, Allied Domecq leases 82 acres in the Carneros area, and 1200 acres from Antinori at its Atlas Peak Vineyard. It also owns 180 acres in the Carneros that it acquired when it purchased Sonoma County winery Buena Vista.

Allied-Domecq is headquartered in England and is the second largest spirits group in the world. It owns and/or distributes Ballantine's Scotch, Beefeater gin, Kahlua, Courvoisier cognac, Canadian Club, Harveys Bristol Cream and a number of other liquors

Andretti Winery--Founded by racecar driver Mario Andretti, who leases 43 acres of vines (on a total of 53 acres) at the winery on Big Ranch Road in Napa from the property's owner, Laird Family Estate.

Antinori (See Atlas Peak Vineyards)

Araujo Estate Wines--40 acres of vines (Eisele Vineyard) on 160 acres total.

Artesa Vineyards and Winery--formerly Codorniu Napa, is part of the Spanish-owned Codorniu Group. Artesa has 173 planted acres out of a total of 352.

Atalon (See Jackson Family Farms)

Atlas Peak Vineyards--The winery, located in the hills northeast of the city of Napa, is owned by Antinori California. It consists of 1200 acres, of which 500 acres are planted to grapes, all leased to Allied Domecq Wines, USA. Antinori California is owned by Italian winemaker Piero Antinori, whose family has been making wine since 1385.

Beaulieu Vineyard--B.V., owned by Diageo, itself owns 1084 acres in Napa County, almost all planted to grapes. It controls a similar amount of acreage through contracts with growers. B.V.'s own property includes 344 acres in the Carneros, 305 in Rutherford, 115 in St. Helena, and 320 in Calistoga (See Diageo).

Beckstoffer Vineyards owns 990 acres in Napa County, of which 866 acres are planted to grapes. Andrew Beckstoffer's company also owns extensive acreage in Lake and Mendocino counties.

Beringer Blass Wine Estates owns Beringer Vineyards (founded in 1876) and St. Clement in St. Helena, and Stag's Leap Winery off the Silverado Trail south of Yountville. It owns a total of 913 planted acres in Napa County and leases an additional 1427 acres throughout the county. The new company results from the merger of Australian wine company Mildara Blass with the Napa Valley's Beringer Wine Estates, both owned by Australia's Foster's Group.

Bouchaine Vineyards owns 104 acres of which 97 are planted to grapes. The winery is owned by Gerret and Tatiana Copeland of Wilmington, Delaware.

Buchli Station Vineyard owns 131 acres of Chardonnay in the Carneros.

Buena Vista Winery--Although based in Sonoma County, the winery also owns 180 acres of vines in the Napa Carneros, part of its total vine acreage of 950 acres on 1350 total acres owned in both counties. Buena Vista was owned by Racke USA and the Moller-Racke family of Germany, but is now owned by Allied Domecq.

Burgess Cellars--Burgess owns 105 planted acres. Fifty-five acres are on Howell Mountain and another 50 acres are in the Yountville area.

Cain Vineyard and Winery is located west of St. Helena on Spring Mountain at the crest of the Mayacamas Range bordering Sonoma County. Cain has a total acreage of 542 acres, of which 84 acres is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Syrah.

Cakebread Cellars--Cakebread owns 270 acres of which 90 acres are in vines.

Calplans Partners--The Marin County, California investment firm owns vineyards in Wooden and Chiles Valleys. Total acreage is 700 acres, of which 405 acres are planted to grapes, and another 20-25 acres are plantable in the near future.

Cappell Valley Vineyards owns 98 planted acres.

Cardinale (See Jackson Family Farms)

Catacula Lake Winery (See Edward A. Keith)

Caymus Vineyards owns 61.5 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon at its winery in the Rutherford area.

Chalone Wine Group has a total of 367 acres, of which about 315 are planted. This includes 150 acres at its Acacia Winery in the Carneros, as well as acreage at its Hewitt and Suscol Creek ranches.

Chappellet Winery has approximately 110 acres in vines.

Chateau Montelena owns 160 acres at the winery, of which 120 are planted.

Charles Krug Winery, owned by the Peter Mondavi family, owns over 800 acres, almost all planted. They include eight vineyards: Charles Krug Ranch (143 acres) in St. Helena, the Lincoln (101), Fracchia (135), Page (74), Voltz (91), Slinsen (59) and Homefinder's (105) Ranches in the Yountville area, and the Willow Lake Vineyard (174) in the Carneros District.

Chimney Rock Winery owns 108 acres of grapes at its winery on the site formerly occupied by an 18-hole golf course, on the Silverado Trail north of Napa. The winery is 100% owned by the Terlato Wine Group of Illinois.

Clos Du Val Wine Company owns 232 acres in the Carneros, Stag's Leap and Yountville Crossroads areas, of which 180 are planted to grapes.

Clos Pegase Winery owns 455 planted acres in the Calistoga and Carneros regions.

Conn Creek Winery (See Stimson Lane Vineyards & Estates).

Constellation Brands (See Franciscan Estates)

Cosentino Winery--Cosentino has 70 acres of grapes on 165 acres of land. Five acres of the total is at the winery on Highway 29 in Yountville, and the other 160 is newly-acquired property in Pope Valley.

Cuvaison Winery has 573 total acres. 173 of these are on Mt. Veeder, and contain 52 acres of vines. The other 400 are in the Carneros District, and 282 are planted to winegrapes. Cuvaison has been owned since 1974 by the Schmidheiny family of Switzerland. Thomas Schmidheiny is CEO, Chairman and major shareholder of Holderbank, the largest cement manufacturing company in the world.

Diageo, the world's largest spirits company, owns Beaulieu Vineyard in Rutherford. It also owns Sterling Vineyards and Mumm Napa Valley, formerly owned by Seagram's Chateau Estate Wines. In addition, it owns and/or distributes Cuervo tequila; Johnnie Walker and J&B Scotches; Gilbey's, Gordon's and Tanqueray gins; Hennessy cognac; Smirnoff vodka, and Guinness beer.

Diamond Creek Vineyards--Owns four vineyards totaling 21.75 acres at its Diamond Mountain winery.

Domaine Carneros--Owned by the French company Champagne Taittinger. Domaine Carneros owns 135 vine acres on two vineyards in the Carneros area.

Domaine Chandon--Chandon is owned by the French company LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton). Chandon has 180 acres in the Carneros of which 161 are planted, another 315 acres on Mt. Veeder with 70 planted, and 443 at the winery location in Yountville, of which 136 are planted. Total vine acres is 367 out of 938 acres.

Domaine Charbay Winery and Distillery--Owned by the Karakasevic family, the Spring Mountain winery/distillery produces not only wines but also ports, brandies, vodkas and liqueurs. Miles Karakasevic is a twelfth-generation winemaker and master distiller. Charbay owns no vineyards of its own.

Dominus Estate--Owns 124 acres in Yountville of which 100 are planted. Owned by the Moueix Family of France's Bordeaux region.

Duckhorn Vineyards owns 187 plantable acres of which 139 are currently planted.

Far Niente--Far Niente owns 240 acres in the Napa Valley, all located from Oakville to the south. 210 acres of this property is planted in vines.

Flora Springs Winery, and its owners the Komes and Garvey families, own eight vineyards in the Napa Valley totaling approximately 1200 acres. The vineyards are located in St. Helena, Oakville and the Carneros. Total acreage actually planted to grapes is 580 acres.

Foster's Brewing Group (See Beringer Blass Wine Estates)

Franciscan Estates owns both Mount Veeder Winery and Franciscan Oakville Estate. Its total holdings for both wineries are 358 acres of which 264 are planted. It also owns wineries and vineyards in Chile and other California wine regions. Franciscan is owned by Constellation Brands (formerly Canandaigua) of New York State.

Freemark Abbey--Freemark owns 250 acres of grapes and has long-term leases on an additional 200 acres. It was recently purchased by Legacy Estates, now headquartered at the winery on Highway 29 north of St. Helena.

Frog's Leap--Owns a total of 85 planted acres, 30 at its Rutherford winery, and 50 at its Galleron Ranch

Golden State Vintners--Golden State owns 30 acres of grapes in the Napa Valley, as well as 9500 acres throughout California.

Grgich Hills Winery--Owned by Mike Grgich and Austin Hills of the Hills Brothers coffee family. Grgich has 418 acres, all planted.

Groth Vineyards owns 167 planted acres.

Hakusan Sake Gardens--The Japanese-owned sake brewery is located on Highway 29 just south of Napa. Although it has 22 acres of property, it has--and needs--no vineyards, using only short grain rice from the Sacramento Valley.

Harlan Estate--The winery owns 36 acres of vines on 240 acres of property in Oakville.

Havens Winery has 10 acres at the winery just south of Yountville, of which 7.5 acres are planted.

Heitz Wine Cellars has 350 acres of vines. According to public records, total acreage is at least 859 acres.

The Hess Collection's vineyard holdings total over 1600 acres, of which 742 are currently planted. Vineyards are located in the Mt. Veeder, Pope Valley, and American Canyon areas. Swiss owner Donald Hess recently announced he was retiring to Argentina, where he will tend to a small vineyard of Malbec grapes under the Amalaya Vineyards brand. He will retain ownership of his Napa Valley winery, art collection and acreage.

William Hill--Founder of William Hill Winery (See separate listing), since sold to Allied-Domecq, Hill owns 75 acres of grapes in the Coombsville area east of the city of Napa. He also owns property at the base of Atlas Peak northeast of Napa, where he has 35 acres in vines and another 15-20 acres that are plantable.

Hudson Vineyards--Hudson owns 180 acres of vines and an additional 60 plantable acres, all in the Carneros.

Jackson Family Farms--Kendall-Jackson co-founder Jess Jackson and his family own 362.29 acres of vineyards in Napa county. 242.43 of these are producing, 50.09 are in development, and another 69.77 acres are intended for future development. Vineyards are located in the Carneros, Oakville, Howell Mountain and Mt. Veeder appellations. Grapes from the property go to various wineries, including the family's Cardinale, Lokoya and Atalon wineries, which are all currently located at the same facility just off Highway 29 in Oakville.

Jaeger Vineyards--William Jaeger owns a 582-acre parcel (fifth largest vineyard parcel in the county) near American Canyon at the south end of the county. Jaeger has ten other vineyard properties in Napa County for a total of 1130 acres. 577 acres are planted to grapes, which go to 25 different wineries.

Jarvis Winery, owned by Silicon Valley multimillionaire William Jarvis, has 37 acres of grapes, out of a total acreage of at least (according to public records) 588 acres. Jarvis is founder of the Jarvis Conservatory in the city of Napa, noted for its performances of Zarzuela--Spanish opera.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards, located in Spring Valley near St. Helena, has a total of 784 acres, of which 333 are planted. It leases an additional 16 acres of grapes.

Juliana Vineyards--The 3,250-acre ranch in Pope Valley was sold in October 2000 by Reunion Industries to a group of investors from Seattle and Texas put together by St. Helena management consulting firm Maher & Associates. The new company is called The Vineyard at Juliana. The company would not respond to requests for information, but at the time of sale it reported that 350 acres were planted to grapes and another 400 were available for planting. The vineyards provide grapes to such wineries as Beringer, Groth, Duckhorn and Luna.

Edward A. Keith owns 1006 acres of vineyards, of which 125 acres are actually planted to grapes. Keith is owner of one of Napa County's newest wineries--Catacula Lake Winery--located in Chiles Valley.

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates--K-J currently owns no vineyard property in Napa County, although it does operate a winemaking facility in Oakville at Cardinale Estate Winery. (See Jackson Family Farms for the vineyard holdings of K-J co-founder Jess Jackson and his family.)

Kirkland Ranch Winery--Owns approximately 2600 acres at its ranch on Jameson Canyon south of Napa off Highway 29. Of this total, 137 acres are in vines.

Knoxville Associates owns 900 acres throughout Napa County of which 600 are planted to grapes, all leased to Beringer. Knoxville is owned by the Gamble family, which has farmed in the county since the early 1900's.

Krupp Family--Members of the Krupp family own 50% of Stage Coach Vineyards (See separate listing) as well as an additional 91 acres of which 60 are in vines.

Kuleto Villa Vineyards and Winery--Owned by San Francisco celebrity restaurateur Pat Kuleto (Farallon, Boulevard and Jardinière restaurants--and soon one in St. Helena). The winery, located off Silverado Trail between Rutherford and St. Helena, has 100 acres of grapes on 800 acres of property.

Laird Family Estate, located off Highway 29 just north of Napa, would not provide its acreage figures, but its web site indicates that it owns "nearly 2000" planted acres. That figure is in line with public records and estimates from knowledgeable observers. (At the end of March 2001, the winery added an additional 43 acres with the purchase of the Andretti Winery property.) The winery uses only 1 percent of the fruit it produces, selling the rest to other wineries, and its facility is used by many other winemakers for their own wines.

Larkmead Vineyards--The Solari family has been growing grapes at their vineyards north of St. Helena on Larkmead Lane for over 50 years. Larkmead owns a total of 145 planted acres.

Lokoya (See Jackson Family Farms)

Louis M. Martini Winery is the oldest family-owned winery in the Napa Valley, in operation since 1933. It owns 510 acres, of which 310 are planted. Holdings include the 185-acre Ghost Pines Vineyard in the newly-created Chiles Valley appellation, as well as 220 acres of land in Pope Valley, of which about 50 acres have been planted.

Luna Vineyards--Owns 82 acres of property of which 68 acres are planted, almost all Pinot Grigio.

LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton)--The French company owns Domaine Chandon in Yountville and Newton Vineyard in St. Helena.

Markham Winery--Markham owns approximately 260 acres of grapes and leases an additional 112 vine acres. Vineyards are in Calistoga, Yountville and Napa. Markham is owned by the Mercain Corporation, Japan's oldest winery.

Mead Ranch. While not one of the largest grapegrowers in the county, the Mead Ranch is certainly one of the oldest. The ranch, owned by the Giles Mead family, has been producing grapes for over 60 years, providing them to the Hess Collection and other top wineries. It owns the second largest vineyard parcel in the county (623.59 acres), and has total property of over 1300 acres, of which 65 acres is planted to winegrapes. The entire property is in Land Trust, and Mead is such a strong supporter of the environment that he has donated $1,000,000 to the Napa County Land Trust to further its activities.

Mildara Blass (See Beringer Blass Wine Estates)

Miller Family--The Joseph Miller family owns 286 planted acres on a total of 378 acres, most located south of Yountville off Highway 29.

Monticello Vineyards, located on Big Ranch Road north of the city of Napa, owns 80 acres, almost all planted to grapes.

Mont St. John (Madonna Estate)--The winery, located on Old Sonoma Road in the Carneros, owns 160 acres of grapes, all organically farmed. The Bartolucci family has been making wine in the Napa Valley for four generations.

Mount Veeder Winery--Owns 87 acres of which 31 are planted. It is owned by Franciscan Estates which is, in turn, owned by Constellation Brands.

Mumm Napa Valley (See Seagram's Chateau Estate Wines)

Napa Wine Company is owned by the descendants of Andrew Pelissa. They own a total of 635 acres, almost all planted. The majority of their vineyards are located just north of Yountville, and the rest in Oakville where the winery is located. All vineyards are farmed organically.

Newton Vineyard--Owns 570 acres in the St. Helena area, of which 110 acres is planted in vines. LVMH recently purchased a majority stake in the winery through its Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin subsidiary.

Nichelini Winery--Located in Chiles Valley, Nichelini is the oldest family-operated winery in Napa County, having started in 1890. It has 100 acres in vines.

Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery--Owned by movie director Francis Ford Coppola, the Rutherford winery (formerly Inglenook, built in 1887) has 1655 acres of property, of which 195 acres are in vines.

Opus One, the super-premium winery in Oakville that is co-owned by Robert Mondavi and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild of France, owns 138 acres, of which 104 are in vines.

Pahlmeyer--Owner Jason Pahlmeyer has 220 acres in the Atlas Peak area of which 80 acres are planted.

Paradigm Vineyards--Paradigm owns 55 acres in Oakville, all planted to grapes.

Peju Province--Peju owns 30 acres of grapes at its winery in Rutherford, and another 320 acres in Pope Valley, of which 120 are producing and the remainder either planted or to be planted.

Pine Ridge Winery owns 285 acres throughout the Napa Valley, of which 208 are in vines. It also leases 25 acres, 20 of which are planted to grapes.

PlumpJack Winery--PlumpJack has 53 acres at the winery in Oakville, 50 of which are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Premier Pacific Vineyards--Formed in 1999 by William Hill and Richard Wollack, the company owns 44 acres of grapes in the Carneros.

Quintessa--The Rutherford winery is owned by Agustin Huneeus and his viticulturist wife, Valeria. Agustin Huneeus was originally the principal stockholder and CEO of Concha y Toro, Chile's largest winery, and later head of Seagram's worldwide wine operations. He is currently chairman of the board of Franciscan Estates (See separate listing). Quintessa owns 160 planted acres on a total of 280 acres.

Raymond Vineyard and Cellar--Raymond owns 90 acres at the winery in St. Helena, and an additional 250 acres in Jameson Canyon south of Napa. A total of 200 acres is planted to grapes. Raymond is owned by Kirin Beer of Japan.

Regusci Winery--Located in the Stag's Leap District, the Regusci family has been growing grapes since 1932. Their 280-acre ranch has approximately 160 acres of grapes, of which 120 are in long-term lease to Clos du Val and the rest used for their own wines.

RMS Brandy Distillery--Owned by the French cognac maker Rémy Martin. Owns 20 acres of which 15 are planted.

Robert I. MacDonnell owns approximately 300 acres in the Rutherford area, of which 293 acres are planted to grapes.

Robert Keenan Winery--Keenan owns 48 acres of grapes on the 180 acres of its winery property off Spring Mountain Road in St. Helena.

Robert Mondavi Winery was founded in 1966 by Robert Mondavi as only the second (See Stony Hill Vineyard) winery built in the Napa Valley since Prohibition. It owns 1675 acres in Napa County, of which 1400 are planted to winegrapes. This includes the 550-acre To Kalon vineyard in Oakville, 400 acres in the Stag's Leap District, and 450 acres in Carneros. Mondavi's Napa Valley wineries are Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, and La Famiglia di Robert Mondavi (formerly the site of Vichon), on Oakville Grade west of Highway 29. It has extensive vineyard property in other counties and countries.

Robert Pecota Winery owns 36 acres of grapes at its winery near Calistoga.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards--Owns 150 acres of grapes of which 4.5 acres are at the winery in the Stag's Leap District and the rest are in the Carneros. All vineyards are farmed organically.

Rombauer Vineyards owns 29 planted acres at its winery in St. Helena.

Rudd Estate--Rudd has 54 acres at its winery on the Silverado Trail in Oakville, of which 45 are in grapes. It has an additional 51 acres at other locations, including Mt. Veeder and St. Helena, with 14 of those acres currently planted and at least 12 more designated for planting.

Rutherford Hill--Located on the Silverado Trail in Rutherford, it is owned by the Terlato Wine Group of Chicago, Illinois, which also owns 50% of Chimney Rock Winery on the Silverado Trail north of Napa. Rutherford Hill obtains its grapes from leased vineyards.

Saintsbury owns 503 acres in the Carneros, of which 54 are currently planted.

S. Anderson Vineyards owns 120 acres, of which 100 is planted, at its vineyards in the Stag's Leap District and the Carneros.

Schramsberg Vineyards owns 175 acres at its winery near Calistoga. 50 acres of this property are planted to grapes used in its sparkling wines.

Seagram's Chateau Estate Wines formerly owned Sterling Vineyards just south of Calistoga and Mumm Napa Valley on the Silverado Trail in Rutherford. To provide both wineries with grapes, Seagram's had approximately 735 acres of grapes, and leased an additional 225 acres. Seagram's holdings included the renowned Winery Lake Vineyard, originally developed by Rene di Rosa.

Both Sterling and Mumm are likely to soon be part of the Diageo empire, due to that company's purchase--along with co-bidder Pernod-Ricard--of Seagram's drinks division from the giant French communications company, Vivendi, which purchased Seagram's at the end of 2000.

Sequoia Grove Vineyards owns 24 acres of grapes at its winery, located between Oakville and Rutherford.

Shafer Vineyards--Shafer has approximately 185 acres, all planted to grapes, at its vineyards in Stag's Leap District, Napa and the Carneros.

Signorello Vineyards--Signorello owns 45 acres of grapes on approximately 100 acres of land at its location on the Silverado Trail north of Napa.

Silver Oak Cellars--Owns 158 acres in Soda Canyon north of Napa and east of the Silverado Trail, and at its winery on the Oakville Crossroad. 112 acres are in vines.

Silverado Vineyards--Owned by Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt Disney, and her husband Ron, the winery owns approximately 600 acres of which over 300 are in grapes. Property is in the Stag's Leap District, Yountville, Soda Canyon, Mt. George and the Carneros.

Silverado Premium Vineyards--An investment firm formed in 1998. Silverado Partners helped Texas Pacific Group, an investment fund, buy Beringer Wine Estates in 1996 and played a role in taking Beringer public in 1997. Silverado Premium Partners includes David Freed, Michael Moone and Richard Lemon of the original Silverado Partners, as well as Colony Capital, a Los Angeles real estate investment firm, and the Ledbetter family. Mark Couchman, previously an executive at Prudential and GE Capital, is the president. The firm says that its acreage statistics are confidential. Public records indicate that it owns at least 640 acres of land in Napa County.

Smith-Madrone--The Spring Mountain winery owns a total of 200 acres of which 35 acres are planted to grapes.

Spring Mountain Vineyard owns about 850 acres of which nearly 225 are in vines. It is still sought out by visitors looking for the "location" of the 1980's TV soap opera series Falcon Crest. The winery is owned by Swiss financier Jacob Safra, who is also the owner of Encyclopedia Britannica.

Stage Coach Vineyards--Owns 970 acres in Soda Canyon of which 500 are planted to grapes. The partnership is 50 percent owned by the Krupp Family, 25 percent by the Gordon Getty Trust, and the rest by various investors.

Staglin Family Vineyard owns 50 acres of vines on its total of 62 acres in Rutherford.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars--Stag's Leap, whose 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon won the legendary Paris tasting in 1976, owns 183 acres of grapes. Its vineyards include the famous Fay vineyard, planted by Nathan Fay in 1961 as the first Cabernet vineyard in today's Stag's Leap District.

Stags' Leap Winery (See Beringer Blass Wine Estates)

St. Clement (See Beringer Blass Wine Estates)

St. Supéry Winery is owned by the Skalli Corporation, which owns a total of 1788 acres, of which 645 acres is planted. Robert Skalli is a third-generation French winemaker with extensive holdings in France, including over 17,000 acres in the Languedoc region. His Napa Valley holdings include the Hardester Ranch and the 600-acre Dollarhide Ranch in Pope Valley, and vineyards at the winery in Rutherford.

Sterling Vineyards (See Seagram's Chateau Estate Wines)

Stimson Lane Vineyards & Estates owns Conn Creek and Villa Mt. Eden, both located at the same facility in St. Helena on the Silverado Trail. In the Napa Valley, the company owns two acres of grapes and leases an additional 237 acres. It also owns extensive vineyard property in other California wine regions. Stimson Lane is headquartered in Washington State where its wineries include Chateau Ste. Michelle. The company is itself owned by UST in Greenwich, Connecticut, whose main subsidiary United States Tobacco Company produces smokeless tobacco products such as snuff and chewing tobacco.

Stonegate Winery--Stonegate has 15 acres of grapes at its winery just south of Calistoga, and another 210 acres of grapes in Chiles Valley.

Stony Hill Vineyard--Stony Hill has 160 acres at its St. Helena winery, of which 40 acres are in vines. Stony Hill's winery, built in 1951, was the first new winery built in the Napa Valley since Prohibition.

Storybook Mountain Vineyards--Storybook owns 43 acres of vines, out of a total of approximately 120 acres, at its winery in the hills outside of Calistoga.

Sutter Home Winery (See Trinchero Family Estates)

Trefethen Vineyards, has 800 acres of land, of which 490 are planted to winegrapes. This includes vineyards bordering a one-mile stretch of Highway 29 just north of Napa, as well as 50 acres in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains,

Trinchero Family Estates, parent company of Sutter Home Winery, has 187 acres of vines out of a total of 240 acres of vineyard property throughout Napa county. The winery also has extensive vineyard property in other Northern California counties.

Truchard Vineyards--Truchard owns 383 acres in the Carneros, of which 270 acres are in vines.

Turnbull Wine Cellars--The Oakville winery owns 185 planted acres in Oakville, and an additional 115 acres of grapes north of Calistoga. It is just starting to plant 80 additional acres on Howell Mountain.

UCC Vineyards Group has 400 acres throughout the valley, all planted to winegrapes.

Usibelli Land Development Corporation. Usibelli has 2100 acres of property in Pope Valley of which 130 are in vines, and 105 acres in Rutherford, of which 84 are planted. The company is affiliated with the Usibelli Coal Mine in Healy, Alaska.

Viader Vineyards--Located at the 1200 foot elevation level on Howell Mountain northeast of St. Helena, where it owns 30 acres of grapes. All vineyards are farmed organically.

Villa Mt. Eden (See Stimson Lane Vineyards & Estates)

V. Sattui Winery, whose winery in St. Helena is known as much for its delicatessen, cheeses and picnic tables as its wine, has 250 acres of vines out of a total vineyard acreage of 800 acres. These include Suzanne's Vineyard in St. Helena, Carsi Vineyard in Yountville, and the Henry Ranch in the Carneros.

William Hill--The winery owns 200 acres in Napa, and leases an additional 82 acres in the Carneros. It is owned by the British firm Allied-Domecq. (See Allied-Domecq).

ZD Wines--Owns 6 acres (3 acres planted in Cabernet) at the winery on Silverado Trail in Rutherford, and an additional 33 acres in the Carneros, 30 of which are in vines (23 acres Chardonnay and seven acres Pinot Noir). All acreage is organically farmed.

Celebrities and Other Interesting Owners

Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt Disney, and her husband own Silverado Vineyards (See listing).

Movie Director Francis Ford Coppola owns Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery in Rutherford. (See listing).

Actor/comedian Robin Williams has a 224-acre vineyard parcel in the Mt. Veeder area, of which 24 acres are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Celebrity San Francisco restaurateur Pat Kuleto owns Kuleto Villa Vineyards and Winery (See listing).

Renowned chef and wine/food expert Narsai David has four Napa Valley parcels for a total of 105 acres. Grape acreage on this property is unknown.

The Culinary Institute of America, headquartered in Hyde Park, NY, has 15 acres of Merlot at its cooking school and restaurant located at the former Christian Brothers Greystone Cellars in St. Helena.

Politicians are in the valley, too. San Francisco Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul own two vineyard parcels totaling 24.62 acres, of which approximately 9 acres are grapes.

San Francisco Giants owner Peter A. Magowan has two vineyard parcels totaling 14.52 acres. Actual grape acreage on this property is unknown.

All-time champion race car driver Mario Andretti operates Andretti Winery in Napa. (See listing).

The Department of Viticulture and Enology of the University of California, Davis maintains the Oakville Experimental Vineyard, a research station located on the Oakville Grade at the base of the Mayacamas mountain range. The 20-acre South Vineyard, situated between Far Niente Winery and the Martha's Vineyard (The 33-acre parcel owned by Tom and Martha May whose grapes were turned by Joseph Heitz into the first Napa Valley cult wine), was a gift to the University from the Napa Valley Vintners in 1947. The second parcel, also 20 acres, is the Old Federal Vineyard, deeded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the University in 1955, thanks to continuing lobbying efforts of the vintners. This site is adjacent to the Robert Mondavi vineyard on the Oakville Grade road.

Speaking of the University of California, UC Berkeley professor Daniel McFadden, who won the 2000 Nobel Prize for Economics, has two acres of grapes in Soda Canyon, off the Silverado Trail just north of Napa. It's on the site of a long-gone winery built in 1880.

In an only-in-the-Napa Valley story, Carneros Elementary School, in the heart of the Napa Carneros region, has its own five-acre Chardonnay vineyard. School parents planted the land ten years ago as a long-term fundraising venture. A small group continues to look after the vineyard, whose grapes go to Mumm Napa Valley. Net profits from the vineyard support activities and other special needs of the school and its kids.

Napa Valley College has six acres of grapes used as a teaching plot for its Viticulture and Wine Technology program. Five of the acres are Chardonnay and its fruit is sold to The Hess Collection. The college also has 1.5 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon at its Upper Valley Campus in St. Helena. Its grapes are sold to Peter Franus Wine Company.

Pacific Union College, the Seventh Day Adventist college in Angwin on Howell Mountain east of St. Helena, owns one vineyard parcel 6.34 acres in size. It might seem strange that a religious school whose precepts forbid the use of alcohol would have its own vineyard, but the Church's St. Helena Hospital in Deer Park, just outside Angwin, is also a major recipient of money from the annual Napa Valley Wine Auction. The vineyard, leased to Beringer, resulted from a land trade that preserved a forested area directly adjacent to the college campus.

Continuing in a religious vein, there's also St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Yountville. It owns a parcel of almost seven acres adjacent to the church and leased to nearby Silverado Vineyards.

Even municipal governments get into the act. At its Kimball Reservoir, the City of Calistoga has 6.25 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, which are leased to a valley winery.

The City of St. Helena, which has a cluster of grapes on its city seal, also grows them. It has one-third of an acre of Cabernet Franc grapes at its wastewater treatment facility on the south edge of town. The grapes, harvested in the fall by the plant's crew, are sold by the city to a valley winery.

The County of Napa, which also has a grape cluster on its seal, isn't left out of the action either. It owns and manages the Napa County Airport, just south of the city of Napa, and has planted just under an acre of Syrah--eventually to be two acres--as landscaping.

Landscaping with grapevines is becoming increasingly popular in the valley. The Napa Valley Gateway Business Park near the airport has grapevines scattered throughout the area. Its headquarters building uses two acres of Chardonnay as an integral part of its landscaping. The grapes are sold to a valley winery.

Even some banks have decorative--but real--grapevines. Use the drive-by ATM machine at Westamerica Bank in north Napa during harvest season, and as you exit, you can reach out and pick a handful of ripe Cabernet grapes. wbm

About This Report

Determining the amount of vine acreage in Napa County is difficult for a variety of reasons. For one, it changes daily as wineries and growers plant, rip out, or replant acreage.

For another, county tax officials are obviously more interested in total acreage, while a vineyard manager is focused on the actual area of real vines, and not the land lost to roads, outbuildings, or waterway setbacks.

Thirdly, a few wineries and growers do not wish to reveal their acreage statistics. The most accurate statistics on vine acres are maintained by the Napa County Agricultural Commissioner's Office. This data is provided by the wineries and growers as part of their annual crop report information. However, that information is given to the Ag Commissioner with the understanding that it remains confidential.

So, to gather the information for this report, we've used several other sources:
  1. Napa County Tax Assessor vineyard parcel database. This is information openly available to the public.
  2. Pesticide Application Database from the Napa County Agricultural Commissioner's Office. Also available to the public.
  3. Phone calls to wineries and growers. Most wineries and growers were willing to provide their acreage statistics to Wine Business Monthly, although two (Laird Family Estate and Silverado Premium Vineyards) would not.