Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

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Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars to Build New Visitor Center with Sweeping Views of its Historic Estate Vineyards

May 30 2013

Napa, CA – Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, the iconic Napa Valley winery and producer of the 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon that triumphed over some of the best of Bordeaux at the historic 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting, today announced plans to build a state-of-the-art Visitor Center overlooking its estate vineyards – FAY and S.L.V.

The winery plans to break ground June 1 on a new 6,000 square foot Visitor Center and complete the project in the summer of 2014. Winery principals Ted Baseler, of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Marchese Piero Antinori, of Marchesi Antinori, will join together at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars this July for an “unveiling” of the design plans and to commemorate this major milestone in their stewardship of this iconic winery.

“Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is one of the world’s most highly regarded winery estates,” said Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “When we purchased the winery in 2007 in partnership with Marchesi Antinori, our focus was on enhancing the quality of the wines and preserving the legacy of this benchmark producer. We have been investing in every aspect of the winery including enhanced temperature control in the cellar and technology like the Mistral berry sorting system, as well as undergoing vineyard replanting – all with the goal of crafting exceptional wines. With these pieces in place, we believe it’s time to continue our investment in the winery and to Napa Valley by giving our customers a tasting experience that matches the world-class wines being produced.”

Marchese Piero Antinori, whose family has been a leader in the wine business for more than 625 years, believes that quality, passion and innovation are all critical elements in a winery’s success. “There’s no question that the significant investments and enhancements we’ve made are being reflected in the current and upcoming releases,” said Marchese Piero Antinori. “We are very proud that visitors to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars will soon have a visitor center experience worthy of the wines of this historic estate.”

World-renowned Barcelona-based architect Javier Barba, created the design for the new Visitor Center to take advantage of the stunning views of the estate vineyards and the Stags Leap Palisades. He also designed and oversaw the building of the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Arcade, the Great Room and the Round Room in the wine caves (34,000 square foot) – a four-year project that was completed in 2000. The new Visitor Center will have a similar contemporary look and uses materials that blend with the winery setting and elements from the land. Architect Daniel Macdonald of AIA Architects, Inc., and Landscape Architect Sandra Reed of ZAC Landscape Architects are bringing Javier Barba’s vision to life.

The new Visitor Center will cost approximately $7 million to build; a financial commitment shared by the joint venture partnership of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori. Together, they purchased Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in August 2007 for $187 million. The sale included the estate’s historic brand, spectacular Napa Valley winery, and its signature Napa Valley estate vineyards, S.L.V. and FAY.

The winery’s story today is one of Renaissance. Since acquiring the winery in the summer of 2007, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori have worked tirelessly to enhance the legacy of this iconic Napa Valley winery. The partners have brought tremendous resources together – not just financial, but also technical and historical expertise plus a passion for innovation and making the very best wines possible.

The 2007 vintage represented the first releases made under the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates/Marchesi Antinori partnership. The 2008 vintage marked the first wines crafted from bud break to bottle. The 2009 CASK 23, S.L.V. and FAY show a stylistic enhancement to even more upfront fruit character and sense of place. They have a beautiful purity of fruit while retaining the balance, elegance and restraint that is the winery’s hallmark.

The 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon, produced from the vineyard’s first commercial crop, stunned the wine world when it bested four top-ranked Bordeaux wines, including two First Growths, in a blind tasting held in Paris. At that time, California wines were considered curiosities, hardly in the same class as the best French wines. This seismic event has been described as “sparking a staggering revolution in vineyard technology,” “a major turning point in consumers’ attitudes,” and “a moment that shook the global wine establishment to its roots.” A 2005 book by George Taber documented the tasting, Judgment of Paris: California vs France and the 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine.

©2013 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, Napa, CA 94558.

For further information:
Jennifer Scott