Gallo buys Stagecoach Vineyard in Napa Valley

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E & J Gallo Winery announced Thursday that it has purchased the Stagecoach Vineyard in Napa County’s Atlas Peak region, adding more than 600 acres of premium grapes to its portfolio.

The Modesto-based company’s acquisition advances its strategy of securing vineyard land in the North Coast because it is the primary source of domestic grapes for the premium wine market. Overall, the premium category is fueling growth in the wine sector as the average price for a bottle of wine passed the $10 level last year for the first time.

“This purchase affirms Gallo’s commitment to compete in the luxury wine segment,” said Roger Nabedian, senior vice president of Gallo’s premium wine division, in a statement.

He noted that the sale would help in the growth of its premium portfolio with brands such as Louis M. Martini, William Hill Estate and Orin Swift.

The purchase price was not disclosed, though Gallo said it would honor existing contracts with the wineries that currently source from the vineyard. The financial transaction services firm Zepponi and Co. of Healdsburg served as the adviser to Stagecoach.

Gallo, the nation’s largest wine company, had an active 2015 in the premium market by buying the Sleepy Hollow vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands, the J Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg and the historic Asti Winery in Cloverdale.

Jan Krupp purchased the 1,300-acre property and in 1995 began turning the mountainous area — at elevations from 1,200 and 1,750 feet — into the Stagecoach Vineyard by removing 1 billion pounds of volcanic rock. He has sold grapes to more than 90 wineries, ranging from Caymus Vineyards in Rutherford to Freemark Abbey Winery in St. Helena. About 300 acres are devoted to cabernet sauvignon, the priciest grape in the Napa Valley.

“While my decision to sell was not simple, I was delighted to find a buyer that is committed to continuing the tradition of excellence and the pursuit of enhancing the world-class vineyard I have created,” Krupp said in a statement.

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

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