Patrick Campbell, a long-time and influential advocate for the North Coast wine industry, has sold his iconic mountain vineyard and wine label.
Campbell established Laurel Glen Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain in the late 1970s, helping establish the reputation of mountain vineyards in Sonoma County.
The veteran wine maker and grape farmer also played a key role in forcing states to open their borders to direct wine shipments — a practice that now generates the bulk of revenues for many small wineries on the North Coast.
The 11-acre vineyard and small winery facility was purchased by a group of investors led by Bettina Sichel, who was director of marketing for Quintessa Winery in Rutherford for eight years.
The sale price was in the range of $4 million to $5 million, according to sources close to the deal.
Campbell decided to sell the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard about four years ago as he began spending more time on his other winery projects in Lodi and Argentina, he said.
"I really did all I could with Laurel Glen," said Campbell, who moved to Sonoma County and lived at the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in 1974. "For me, it just wasn't that intellectually interesting anymore."
He and his family retain their nearby Sonoma Mountain home on 10 acres.
Campbell will focus on his wine company Tierra Divina Vineyards, which includes the wine brands REDS, ZaZin!, Terra Rosa.
Campbell became a national leader advocating for small wineries about 20 years ago. As president of the Coalition for Free Trade in the late 1990s, he led an effort to file lawsuits challenging states that prohibited direct wine shipments.
The Supreme Court ultimately decided in their favor in 2005, opening the doors for the now robust direct-to-consumer business model that has become the life blood for many vintners.
Sichel said it was Campbell's reputation in the industry, along with the reputation of his vineyard and Laurel Glen wine label, that attracted her.
"The amount of respect people have for him, and the accomplishment of that wine really spoke to me," she said.
The estate produces two wines: Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon at $60 a bottle and Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon at $30.
The Laurel Glen winery is permitted to produce 6,000 cases a year, but has been producing about half that in recent years.
"The potential is there to increase sales rather quickly," Sichel said.
In addition to the 11-acre vineyard, Sichel will lease an adjacent 5-acre vineyard. Sally Nicholson, of International Wine Associates in Healdsburg, brokered the deal.