Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

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Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Unveils the Design for its New Visitor Center with Sweeping Views of its Historic Estate Vineyards

July 30 2013

Napa, CA – Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, one of Napa Valley’s most iconic wineries, unveiled the design for its state-of-the-art Visitor Center at an official ceremony yesterday with winery principals Ted Baseler (President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates) and Marchese Piero Antinori (President of Marchesi Antinori of Italy). Earlier this month, the winery broke ground on the new Visitor Center which will overlook its historic estate vineyards – FAY and S.L.V.

At Monday’s ceremony, Ted Baseler and Marchese Piero Antinori were joined by Barcelona-based designer Javier Barba and local architect Dan Macdonald to reveal the watercolor rendering of the new Visitor Center by artist Clayton Perry, which they signed at the ceremony to commemorate this major milestone. The signed artwork will be displayed in the current tasting room for visitors to enjoy until the new 6,000 square foot Visitor Center is completed during the 2014 harvest.

“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 as the mountain and its legend are central to the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars story. Using plenty of glass in the design for natural light, the space is bright and natural. More importantly, Barba said, it also allows you to witness the changes the seasons and climate have on our vines in a way that has never been seen before.

Barba 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. Dan Macdonald of Daniel Macdonald AIA Architects, Inc., and Landscape Architect Sandra Reed of ZAC Landscape Architects are bringing Javier Barba’s vision to life.

The design team plans to source all of the stone for this project from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars land so that visitors can appreciate the natural beauty of the earth occurring in the cliffs of the palisades up close. Each of these design elements will ensure the visitor experience is architecturally harmonious and true to the natural surroundings.

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.

For further information:
Jennifer Scott, Director of Communications