Gap’s Crown sells for estimated $14.5M
Gap’s Crown, a 138-acre vineyard so-named for the way it is perched on a rocky Sonoma Mountain hillside in the Petaluma Wind Gap, has been sold.
Gap’s Crown, a 138-acre vineyard so-named for the way it is perched on a rocky Sonoma Mountain hillside in the Petaluma Wind Gap, has been purchased by Bill Price, an investor whose Price Family Vineyards has ownership interests in a number of Sonoma Coast Vineyards, including Durell Vineyard. Fruit from the vineyard has been among the most sought after in the vast Sonoma Coast AVA.
The amount of the sale was not disclosed, though it is thought by those familiar with vineyard prices in Sonoma County to be in the neighborhood of $14.5 million. Price himself told Wine Spectator that, “We have crossed the threshold of $100,000 an acre for a Sonoma vineyard.”
The property totals 406 acres.
The sale had reportedly been in the works for some time, with Price’s newly formed Gap Crown, LLC, beating out other high-end producers who had vied for the property since it went on the market in early 2012.
Previously, the property was among the holdings of the state pension fund agency CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System), which held the property, along with other vineyards, through a partnership with Premier Pacific Vineyards. CalPERS ended the relationship with Premier Pacific in October 2011 and then sought to divest itself of the vineyard properties.
More than 20 wineries, among them Kosta Browne, Patz and Hall, Paul Hobbs, Roessler, Sojourn, and MacPhail, buy grapes from Gap’s Crown. In a statement, Gap’s Crown LLC, said it will continue to sell fruit from the vineyard to several producers. The grapes fetch upwards of $7,000 a ton.
Price’s Classic Wines has ownership interests in Kistler, Buccella, Three Sticks and Price Chanin Vineyards; Price is also chairman of Kosta Browne Winery.
The new company will lease 37-planted acres to Kosta Browne, thereby enabling it to launch an estate vineyard program. “(Gap’s Crown) has been the backbone of our Sonoma Coast pinot noir program and contributed to our 2009 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir being awarded Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 2011,” said Michael Browne, founder of Kosta Browne.
Erich Bradley, winemaker and founder of Sojourn, has made pinot from Gap’s Crown since 2007 (and hopes to continue to do so); he said the vineyard “has consistently produced ripe, highly-structured” fruit.
Planted in 2002–05, Gap’s Crown is a relatively young vineyard planted to high density with 106 acres of pinot noir and 32 acres of chardonnay. The vineyard has most recently been managed by Atlas Vineyard Management.
A representative from Atlas said the company has negotiated with the new owners and will continue to manage the property.