Quails’ Gate owners add property in Napa Valley

Expansion into the U.S. by Canadian companies is less common than the other way around, but that's what a local winery is doing.

New co-proprietors of Lake Sonoma Winery in California

New co-proprietors of Lake Sonoma Winery in California

A West Kelowna winery family has expanded further in California, purchasing an existing Sonoma Valley winery and launching Lake Sonoma Winery.

Three years ago, the Stewart family of Quail’s Gate Estate Winery teamed up with Dan Zepponi, a former president of Mission Hill Family Estate, whose family has deep roots in the Napa Valley wine industry, to establish Plume Winery in the Napa Valley.

The partnership is called West Coast Wine Partners and co-proprietor Tony Stewart says they hope to extend their philosophy that wines are an expression of the land, to the new winery.

The pair purchased Lake Sonoma Winery last year, along with the historic Valley of the Moon Winery and Madrone Vineyard Estate properties.

Improvements they’ve made to the 35-year-old Sonoma Lake Winery include a change in focus to quality rather than quantity, with the help of consulting winemaker Scott McLeod.

Production has been decreased to concentrate on small-lot, sub-appellation designations and they’ve upgraded the winemaking facilities and embarked on a re-design of packaging.

The first of three Sonoma wine brands to be introduced in Canada will be a Russian River Valley Chardonnay, which is available at some wine shops while the Dry Creek Zinfandel and an Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon are available at the Mission Park Liquor Distribution Branch store.

The Plume wines distributed in Canada have received impressive reviews and proven popular picks in the market.

“Given the tremendous reception we’ve had across Canada with out Napa Valley winery, we’re hoping to take the same approach in another exceptional winemaking region, Sonoma, that broadens our wine portfolio,” said Stewart, who is also CEO of Quail’s Gate.

Zepponi said having been raised in California and grown up in the wine business, he believes the terroir of Sonoma County is comparable to some of the best wine regions of the world.

“The sub-appellations here have ideal microclimates for growing premium grapes, from the cooler coastal areas for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, to the warmer inland valleys for world-class Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon,” commented Zepponi.

“We believe there is uptapped demand for high quality Sonoma sub-appellation selections at approachable prices.”

A short video highlighting the Sonoma winery vision is at: http://youtu.be/5QjX5JR-1W






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