Michael Mondavi sells Carneros Winery

Kieu Hoang buys property as Mondavi family sets sights on Napa Valley floor

by Paul Franson
Following the sale of their winery property (above), the family behind Michael Mondavi Family Estate is considering properties to build a new winemaking and hospitality facility.
Napa, Calif.—The Michael Mondavi family’s wine company has sold its winery facility, vineyard and tasting room in the Carneros district of Napa Valley to Kieu Hoang Winery Napa Valley, owned by Vietnamese-born American businessman Kieu Hoang.

The deal includes 13 acres of vineyard adjacent to the winery. It does not include brands or other family-owned vineyard property. (The family owns a number of vineyards including Animo Vineyard in the Atlas Peak AVA and Oso Vineyard in Pope Valley.)

Financial details of the sale were not disclosed.

History of the property
Michael Mondavi told Wines & Vines that when the family sold its stake in Robert Mondavi Winery to Constellation Brands, he wanted to continue in the winery business with his wife Isabel, son Rob and daughter Dina.

“We didn’t want to be a virtual winery, but since it would take a few years to acquire and build a winery, we bought the Carneros property as a placeholder, an interim step for five to 10 years.”

The Mondavis bought the winery, located on Dealy Lane two miles southwest of the city of Napa, from Francis Mahoney. However, Mondavi said the facility is much larger than what his family needs.

The winery can produce 100,000 cases, and it has been used partly as a custom-crush facility, but Mondavi noted that the family plans to produce 25,000 t0 30,000 cases of wines selling for more than $50 per bottle.

Looking ahead
The Mondavis are now looking at three sites to build a new winery and hospitality center in the heart of the Napa Valley floor.

“We are actively looking to establish a boutique winemaking facility and tasting room in Napa Valley befitting the distinguished wines produced under the Michael Mondavi Family Estate umbrella,” said Rob Mondavi Jr., Michael’s son and winery co-founder. These wines include the Isabel Mondavi, Emblem, Animo and ‘M’ by Michael Mondavi labels.

Michael’s brother and sister Tim and Marcia completed a similar feat in constructing Continuum Winery on Pritchard Hill east of Rutherford, Calif.

Michael Mondavi also said that he hopes to be able to announce his new winery’s location in a few months. “The timing wasn’t perfect, but we already were looking at options when this offer came in, and we decided to take it.”

For the 2014 harvest, the label’s wines will continue to be produced by Rob Mondavi Jr. and Tony Coltrin in a custom-crush facility in Napa; they have leased a 10,000-square-foot warehouse for operations including barrel storage.

Michael also noted that Napa County is becoming increasingly tight in granting applications for new wineries, and there’s even talk of a moratorium while rules are considered. “We don’t think it will be a problem because we’ll be modest in size.”

Rob Mondavi Jr. added, “Over the past eight years the Carneros winery has been home to Folio Winemaker’s Studio, a custom-crush facility and, recently, Michael Mondavi Family Estate. As planned, the facility supported our start-up plans allowing maximum flexibility, however the current case-capacity far exceeds our vision to produce the small-lot, prestige wines we desire to produce.”
The family said that all affected staff members at the property have been offered opportunities with the new owner, and further details will be announced once the transaction is complete.

Kieu Hoang Winery
Winemaker Craig MacLean states that Kieu Hoang Winery was created out of Hoang’s passionate enjoyment of wine. This passion led him to Napa Valley. “Although Kieu Hoang Winery is fairly new to the valley, the company has been producing wine since 2012, exclusively for export markets. The goal has been to establish a U.S. home for the brand where the fame of Napa Valley could be driven not only throughout the U.S., but also worldwide.”

“We desired a location that would support the growth of our portfolio and give us the tools to control wine processing from grape to bottle, and we found that in this facility,” said MacLean, who also serves as the winery’s chief operating officer. “The winery and tasting room staff are tremendous assets to our company, and we look forward to working with them to share in our growth.”

Hoang is the chairman and chief executive officer of Rare Antibody Antigen Supply Inc. and vice chairman of Shanghai RAAS Blood Products Co Ltd., Shanghai China. The core business focus of RAAS is plasma and derivatives. Hoang has donated more than 5,000 homes and schools in Vietnam, where he was born. He also has partnered with the World Bank to provide health insurance, food and resources for flood victims, HIV education and numerous cultural events.

John Bergman of Bergman Euro-National and Robyn Bentley of Pacific Union International represented the new owner in the sale.

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