Ohio family now owners of Mayacamas Vineyards

The Schottenstein family of Columbus, Ohio, has assumed complete ownership of Mayacamas Vineyards in Napa County in the aftermath of divesting from a partnership with convicted fraud Charles Banks.

The Schottensteins, owners of retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters and DSW, have been partners in Mayacamas Vineyards with Banks and his wife, Ali, since it was purchased from longtime owner Bob Travers in 2013.

Banks was convicted of defrauding his client, former NBA star Tim Duncan, earlier this year and sentenced to four years in prison.

He was forced to give up his interest in the winery and its 50-acre vineyard.

The overall property consists of 475 acres located on the slopes of Mount Veeder.

“This represents an exciting and happy new chapter for Mayacamas Vineyards,” owner Jay Schottenstein said in a statement. “Since 2013 our family has been committed to the long-term stewardship of this property, and assuming 100 percent ownership assures the continuity of our vision and the preservation of this historic estate.”

Acumen’s new winemaker no stranger to winery

Acumen Wines in Napa has appointed Henrik Poulsen as director of winemaking and executive manager.

Poulsen had worked at Acumen from 2013 to 2015 with its founding winemaker, Denis Malbec. Malbec was killed in April 2016 after crashing his car in Yountville while driving drunk.

Steve Matthiasson served as Acumen winemaker following Malbec’s death.

A Denmark native, Poulsen came to the Napa Valley in 2000 after working in Bordeaux. He started at Newton Vineyards from 2000 to 2006 before joining Alpha Omega Winery as an assistant winemaker, where he crafted some of the winery’s highly lauded wines for seven years.

Acumen was founded in 2012 when Eric Yuan and his family acquired a 32-acre vineyard on Atlas Peak from Jan Krupp, the former owner of the well-regarded Stagecoach Vineyard.

“I’m thrilled to be back at Acumen and continue my work with the exceptional fruit that comes off our Atlas Peak vineyards,” Poulsen said in a statement. “I’m also very grateful to Steve Matthiasson for pinch-hitting as winemaker following the tragic passing of Denis. Steve’s role in developing our vineyards made for a natural transition, and we were fortunate he was able to take on the winemaking responsibilities in the interim.”

Sonoma Valley vineyard certified as biodynamic

The Annadel Gap Vineyard in the northern Sonoma Valley has been certified as biodynamic by a third-party consultant, the Demeter Association. The grapes from the land go into wines for Westwood Estate in Sonoma.

Under biodynamic farming, crops are grown without chemicals in an attempt to have the vineyard’s ecosystem balanced and self-sustaining. Instead, farmers use beneficial insects, compost and cover crops on the land.

The 22-acre vineyard — owned by Carl Stanton — was planted between 2001 and 2009, and features blocks primarily of pinot noir and syrah. It had previously been a dairy farm.

The vineyard had already achieved organic certification from Oregon-based Stellar Certification Services.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com.