Napa Valley’s Long Meadow Ranch buys Stony Hill Vineyard

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St. Helena’s Long Meadow Ranch said Tuesday it acquired Stony Hill Vineyard, one of the top chardonnay producers in Napa Valley.

The McCrea family, which has produced wine at Stony Hill since 1952, will retain an equity stake in Long Meadow Ranch under the deal. Other terms of the transaction were not released.

The sale differs from recent mergers and acquisitions in the North Coast wine industry, which have involved large wine companies and private-equity groups buying smaller producers. For example, St. Helena’s Duckhorn Wine Co. — owned by a private-equity group — last month bought Sebastopol’s Kosta Browne Winery in a deal one industry source said was slightly more than $200 million.

The Hall family has owned and operated Long Meadow Ranch since the late 1980s. Its properties include two estate vineyards in Napa County and one in Mendocino County, as well as its well-known restaurant and general store located in St. Helena.

“We are proud to welcome Stony Hill Vineyard to the LMR family,” President and CEO Ted Hall of Long Meadow Ranch said in a statement. “We hope the partnership formed by these two truly unique properties will serve as an example of how family-owned wineries can continue to thrive in the Napa Valley.”

Stony Hill has a reputation as a highly regarded chardonnay producer with a less oaky wine that resembles more of a European winemaking style. It owns 30 vineyard acres in the hills between St. Helena and Calistoga.

“We consider this as less of a traditional sale and more of an integration of two family businesses to make a stronger whole,” Stony Hill President Sarah McCrea said in a statement.

Mike Chelini has been Stony Hill’s winemaker for more than 40 years. He’ll be retiring after the 2018 harvest.

International Wine Associates of Healdsburg served as advisor to the McCrea family in the deal.

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

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