Gaylon Lawrence, Jr. and Carlton McCoy, Jr., the owner and president & CEO of Heitz Cellar, respectively, have purchased Spring Mountain’s Stony Hill Vineyard for an undisclosed amount, the pair announced in a press release Wednesday.
This marks yet another acquisition in Napa Valley for Lawrence, whose name was relatively unknown in North Bay wine country prior to his purchase of Heitz Cellar in April of 2018. Just over a year later, Lawrence, a Nashville-based billionaire investor, purchased Rutherford’s Wildwood Vineyard; next was Haynes Vineyard in the fall of 2019, which Lawrence purchased for around $12.5 million, Wine Spectator reported at the time, prompting speculation from some about plans to build a Napa Valley empire.
And three months ago – just before the winery on the property burned in the Glass Fire – Lawrence purchased Deer Park’s Burgess Cellars. McCoy has underscored intent to rebuild the winery.
“The next four years will be very exciting for us,” McCoy said soon after the purchase of Haynes Vineyard, when asked by San Francisco Chronicle Wine Critic Esther Mobley whether to expect additional activity from Lawrence in Napa Valley.
Stony Hill Vineyard was established by Fred and Eleanor McCrea in the early 1950s, according to the release. It quickly gathered a following, becoming well known for its Chardonnay. It was purchased from the McCreas by Ted Hall, president & CEO of Long Meadow Ranch, in 2018 – an acquisition that was at the time celebrated for having preserved the local nature of the winery’s ownership.
The Spring Mountain property was spared the worst of the Glass Fire in October, even as many of its neighbors burned, according to an update from the Spring Mountain AVA website.
Jaimee Motley has been appointed as winemaker, according to the release, while Laurie Taboulet will take on the role of estate director.
Watch Now: Spring Mountain Road in mid-October post Glass Fire
Sarah Klearman’s most memorable Napa Valley Register stories of 2020
Sarah Klearman's most memorable Napa Valley Register stories of 2020
On a Sunday in mid-March of this year, I stood watching as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the coronavirus had arrived in California - and that the state would soon shut down to prevent its spread. He began listing impacted businesses and industries; the moment I heard 'wineries,' I knew I was on the clock.
It feels now like that press conference, held just before the nation plunged deep into lockdown, was a clear demarcation of 'before' and 'after.' In both my professional and personal life, I've sometimes struggled to come to terms with just how much has changed this year, and with how much has been lost: 300,000 dead from the coronavirus in the United States. So many small businesses seem to be facing extinction. It's enough to make my head spin, and that's not even touching upon the wildfires that ravaged Napa County this year.
So I've been making sense of everything that's happened to our community through my work at the Register, because my reporting this year has been all about listening. I've lent my ear to anyone who will talk to me: folks made homeless by the wildfires; communities, including the valley's agricultural workforce, disproportionately impacted by the virus; business owners and their employees who rightfully fear for their future. This list - my top five stories of this year - is all about them.
Twin economic crises - the pandemic and the wildfires - threaten the housing security of a substantial number of renters in Napa County. More than a third have asked for help.
Low wages, cramped living conditions and the fluidity of the agricultural workforce make the farm worker community particularly prone to COVID-19.
The homes at Spanish Flat Mobile Villas burned to the ground. A number of uninsured residents now have no where else to go.
Tasting room closures and restaurant cutbacks have sent a shock through the valley's workforce.
You can reach Sarah Klearman at (707) 256-2213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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