Leslie Rudd, owner of Dean & DeLuca, Oakville Grocery, Rudd Winery and Press Restaurant, and his partners in Vintage Wine Estates have purchased Clos Pegase Winery, a 30-year-old Calistoga landmark known as much for its public art displays as its wines.
Based in Santa Rosa, Vintage Wine Estates’ portfolio includes Girard Winery, Cosentino Winery, Windsor Vineyards, Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Cartlidge & Browne Winery and Ray’s Station. Terms of the firm’s latest purchase were not disclosed.
Jan Shrem, who founded Clos Pegase in 1983 with his late wife, Mitsuko, said he chose to sell the winery and vineyards to the Rudd partnership led by president Pat Roney as he no longer has the stamina to oversee the operation.
Shrem, who celebrated his 83rd birthday last month, said that “it is with admiration and respect that I pass the torch of my beloved Clos Pegase to Pat Roney and Vintage Wine Estates. I know they will build upon my success and carry forward my passion for great wine, art and hospitality.”
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Three decades ago, Shrem, an art collector, set out to fuse art and wine by erecting a temple to wine, and by making his winery an art gallery as well, displaying a world-renowned art collection that includes works by Henry Moore, Jean Dubuffet and Francis Bacon, as well as a 17th-century Renaissance fountain.
Clos Pegase, a stunning example of postmodern architecture, was completed in 1987 after five years of planning and a San Francisco Museum of Modern Art architectural competition that resulted in the selection of architect Michael Graves to design the facility.
For many years, Shrem offered the public in-depth winery tours and tastings that included a tutorial on art and wine through the ages.
The Vintage Wine Estates purchase includes 450 acres of owned and leased land. There are 90 acres in Calistoga, along with Mitsuko’s Vineyards in Carneros. Roney said Wednesday additional plantings of cabernet sauvignon are planned on the three Calistoga properties, including the winery site, with the focus shifting to pinot noir for the additional plantings on fallow Carneros land.
“It is the perfect complement to the Vintage Wine Estates portfolio, offering classic Napa Valley wines from only estate grown grapes, special hospitality opportunities and a one-of-a-kind destination,” Roney added. “We are excited to continue the legacy Jan has established as an iconic property for lovers of art and wine.”
Shrem’s artworks are not part of the transaction. He indicated he will donate much of his art collection to UC Davis to which he gave $10 million last year to help fund a new university art museum.
“Some of the artwork will stay,” Roney advised, “and we intend to bring in other pieces.”
At present, Clos Pegase Winery produces about 25,000 cases of wine annually, the majority of which is cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, with smaller amounts of sauvignon blanc, merlot and pinot noir.
With a use permit that allows production of up to 80,000 cases, Roney indicated the new owners intend to ramp up production once new vineyard plantings bear fruit, perhaps doubling current figures.
He said the current winemaking team will remain in place, working with Marco DiGiulio, director of winemaking for Vintage Wine Estates.
The change of ownership at Clos Pegase is the third major Napa Valley winery sale this year. Last April, veteran vintner Bob Travers sold his family’s Mayacamas Vineyards to the partnership of billionaire entrepreneur Jay Schottenstein and venture capitalist Charles Banks, from 2006-2009 the managing partner of both Screaming Eagle and Napa Valley Reserve.
In late July, Bart and Daphne Araujo sold their storied Araujo Estate and its Eisele Vineyard to billionaire François Pinault, owner of renowned Bordeaux estate Chateau Latour.