Napa Valley, CA, May 17, 2016 – The owners of Far Niente, the benchmark producer of luxury Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, announced today that Far Niente Wine Estates has agreed to an investment from GI Partners. The investment includes the Far Niente winery, as well as sister wineries Dolce, Nickel & Nickel, EnRoute and Bella Union. Longtime winery owners Beth Nickel, Erik Nickel, Dirk Hampson and Larry Maguire remain shareholders.
“We are thrilled that San Francisco-based GI Partners will be making an investment in Far Niente. With shared values and consistent vision, our new partnership clears the way for continued growth and improvement in our group of luxury wineries that we’ve been building since the re-establishment of Far Niente in 1979,” said Dirk Hampson, Director of Winemaking and Chief Executive Officer.
Hampson confirmed that Far Niente Wine Estates’ veteran team of senior sales, marketing, and production employees will remain in place, ensuring continuity of style and quality.
“As investors in the wine industry, we were familiar with Far Niente and its owners who have been dedicated to creating outstanding wines and operating an historic estate. We are privileged to support the culture of excellence that the talented management team has created at Far Niente,” said Rick Magnuson, Executive Managing Director of GI Partners.
David Mace, Managing Director of GI Partners, added, “We are proud to align ourselves with the Far Niente team, and we share their vision and long term goals to continue as an independent fine wine company. Our investment supports the focus on ongoing consistent production of high quality wines as well as the team’s continued dedication to the business they have successfully nurtured for decades.”
Larry Maguire, President of Far Niente, confirmed that all of the wineries’ long-held relationships, including those with growers, distributors, and accounts, will remain intact.
“We pride ourselves on the personal relationships we’ve built over the decades with our important distributors, accounts, growers, and other clients, and we look forward to many more years of sharing great wines together,” said Maguire.
“When Gil and I first arrived in the Napa Valley in the 1970s, we felt incredibly lucky to acquire the jewel of Far Niente and bring it back to life. Over the years, we’ve worked hard to create a very special place to experience our wines and Napa Valley hospitality, with our personal touch. We look forward to continuing the stewardship of our legendary properties,” said Beth Nickel.
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory and closing conditions and is expected to be completed in June 2016.
About Far Niente Wine Estates
Far Niente was established in Oakville, CA in 1885 and prospered until the onset of Prohibition in 1919, when it was abandoned for 60 years. In 1979, Gil and Beth Nickel purchased the winery and adjacent vineyard, restored the building to historical standards and crushed the first Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon at the winery in 1982, along with the winery’s fourth vintage of Chardonnay.
Far Niente helped create the high end Napa Valley wine market and has served as the benchmark wine estate for more than three decades. The establishment of its sister wineries were the natural result of the owners’ continued exploration and experimentation in growing and making the great wines within Napa Valley and Russian River Valley. Dolce, the only North American winery devoted to a single-late harvest Napa Valley wine was introduced in 1989. Nickel & Nickel, launched in 1997, is focused on producing single-vineyard, 100 percent varietal, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. EnRoute, established in 2007 in the Russian River Valley, is dedicated to the appellation’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Most recently Bella Union, devoted to Napa Valley Cabernet and located along Bella Oaks Lane in Rutherford, introduced its first vintage with the 2012. Together with Vinescape, its vineyard management arm, the wineries comprise Far Niente Wine Estates.