Vineyard purchase

Vineyard purchase – Beaulieu Vineyard #3

Andy Beckstoffer has announced the purchase of the historic 225-acre Napa Valley vineyard, Beaulieu Vineyard #3. The vineyard is in the heart of the Rutherford Bench area and is presently planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. Beckstoffer did not reveal a purchase price, but it is estimated at about $35,000 an acre or $7.875 million.

All but about 60 acres will be replanted to three different Cabernet clones, Merlot and Cabernet franc. Plantings will be on 0-39-16 rootstock to protect against fanleaf virus which is present in the area. New plantings, which will continue over the next three years, will be on 6 x 11 spacing with Geneva double curtain trellising.

“We intend to make this a vineyard for the 90s,” Beckstoffer said.

The vineyard was originally part of a land grant to General George Yount by the Mexican government in 1836. It became famous from wines made by Andre Tchelistcheff. Beckstoffer has known the vineyard since 1969 when, as a Heublein vice president in charge of grape acquisitions, he negotiated its purchase. He then founded a Heublein subsidiary, Vinifera Development Corp., to farm and manage Heublein vineyards. In 1978 Beckstoffer completed a leveraged buy-out of the company. Meanwhile, Beaulieu Vineyard #3 was sold to Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance and has continued to be farmed by Beckstoffer’s company.

Most of the grapes will continue to be sold to Beaulieu, but some will go into Beckstoffer’s own brand, Fremont Creek. Beckstoffer owns 500 acres in Napa County and 1,000 acres in Mendocino County.

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