Grace Family Vineyards, one of the Napa Valley’s original cult wine producers, has been sold to businesswoman and local vineyard owner Kathryn Green.
At age 81, proprietors and philanthropists Dick and Ann Grace agreed that it was time to sell the brand and the property outside St. Helena, with its Victorian house, winery and three acres of vineyard. The price was not disclosed.
“The number one thing we’ve been looking for, since we’ve been here 43 years, was a good steward for the property,” Grace said. “We ruled out a number of entities – certainly to include corporations – until we found a family with the same values as our family. I’m sure they will carry the legacy forward for another 40 years.”
A documentary about Grace’s philanthropy and humanitarian work, “Take the Hill,” was shown at the Cameo on April 14. After the screening, he said he wanted Grace Family Vineyards’ legacy to be “kindness.”
The Graces first met the Greens socially and “liked them a lot,” Dick Grace said. There were no real negotiations leading up to the sale – “we had accommodation,” he said.
“It wasn’t a question of them squeezing the last dollar out of us or we trying to get the last dollar out of them,” he said. “It was a question of what would be the best stewardship of this land and how do we carry that forward.”
The Graces will continue to live on the property and their staff will stay in place.
Grace has been sober for more than 31 years, but he said the winery gave him “a podium for what I truly believe in, which is that the gap between the haves and the have-nots is way too far.”
“While people pay hundreds of dollars for one bottle of our wine in a restaurant, 1 billion out of 7 billion people are living on a dollar a day,” Grace said.
He added that he and Ann are preparing for their 65th visit to Nepal and their 11th since the 2015 earthquake that killed almost 9,000 people and destroyed 660,000 homes. After the quake, the Graces supplied tents, water filters, cooking devices and other aid for victims.
“People call us philanthropists and they think about money,” Grace said. “But I would argue strenuously that there is philanthropy of your time, your energy, your vision for the future, and your capital. But most important is the philanthropy of your love for another human being.”