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B. Wise Vineyards of Sonoma Valley buys Amapola Creek from legendary vintner

B. Wise Vineyards of Sonoma Valley has acquired Amapola Creek Vineyards and Winery from legendary vintner Richard Arrowood who will retire from the local wine sector after 54 years of work.

The deal, which will close on Jan. 10, includes 20 acres of certified organic vineyards, a winery permitted to produce up to 5,000 wine cases annually and inventory. The sale price was not disclosed.

The 73-year-old Arrowood said he and his wife, Alis, will relocate in 2020 to Idaho and spend more time with family and friends. “I get to shoot clay (pigeons), hunt and fish,” he said during a Thursday interview.

The sale caps a remarkable career in Sonoma County for Arrowood, who started at Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville in 1965. He later moved to Chateau St. Jean from 1974 through 1990, where he produced some of the county’s first vineyard-designate chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.

The Santa Rosa native also launched his own Arrowood Vineyard & Winery in 1985, which he sold to Robert Mondavi for $45 million in July 2000. That winery was later acquired by Jackson Family Wines in 2006.

Arrowood’s final chapter was Amapola Creek, which he founded in 2005 in the Moon Mountain appellation. The winery is noted for its premium cabernet sauvignon with bottle prices as much as $100.

Discussion of the sale was first raised over a dinner Arrowood had last year with neighbor Brion Wise. Wise founded his B. Wise Winery in 2002 and has a tasting lounge on Highway 12 in Kenwood.

The transaction between Arrowood and Wise is notable because many local boutique wineries have been swallowed up in recent years by much larger wine companies such as E. & J. Gallo Winery and Jackson.

“He has the same passion I have,” Arrowood said of Wise. “He’s not making a wheelbarrow full of rhinestones. He wants to make a handful of diamonds.”

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @BillSwindell.

Bill Swindell

Business, Beer and Wine, The Press Democrat  

In the North Coast, we are surrounded by hundreds of wineries along with some of the best breweries, cidermakers and distillers. These industries produce an abundance of drinks as well as good stories – and those are what I’m interested in writing. I also keep my eye on our growing cannabis industry and other agricultural crops, which have provided the backbone for our food-and-wine culture for generations.

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