Foley buys Sawyer Cellars property in Napa Valley

[caption id="attachment_54700" align="alignnone" width="584" caption="Foley Family Wines will continue to sell the Sawyer Cellars brand from this Prohibition-era converted barn that houses the winery and tasting room. (Sawyer Cellars photo)"][/caption]

RUTHERFORD -- Foley Family Wines purchased the vines and facilities of Sawyer Cellars, located between Rutherford and Oakville in Napa Valley.

The purchase included the 49-acre property with 40 acres of Rutherford appellation vineyards, a 20,000-gallon-a-year winery -- roughly 6,000 cases -- and a tasting room fronting on Highway 29. The deal didn't include Sawyer brand, but it will still be sold in the tasting room, according to Foley Family Wines. The purchase price wasn't disclosed.

"We've been looking for a home along Highway 29 for our Foley Johnson winery," said proprietor Bill Foley. "This purchase provides us with a great location for our tasting room, an excellent winemaking facility and 40 acres of superb vineyards in the heart of the Rutherford appellation."

Healdsburg-based Foley Family Wines now has 10 wineries producing nearly three dozen labels in the North Coast, Central Coast, Washington state and New Zealand. Mr. Foley also is chairman of the board of directors for Fidelity National Inc. and executive chairman of Fidelity National Information Services.

The Sawyer Cellars winery and hospitality center are housed in a converted redwood barn said to date to Prohibition. There is also an underground barrel room, wine library and a modern gravity-feed cellar.

[caption id="attachment_54705" align="alignleft" width="219" caption="Charles and Joanne Sawyer"][/caption]

Sawyer Cellars proprietor Charles Sawyer said he and his wife, Joanne, will miss the past 18 years in the wine business.

"There is no place like Napa Valley for its beauty, incredible terroir and climate for growing wine grapes, but the hidden treasure of Napa Valley is its people," Mr. Sawyer said. "We will miss this life, our friends, our incredible staff, wine club members and our visitors terribly. The upside is we have left the winery in good hands with the Foleys, and we are confident they will be great stewards of the land. We wish them much success."

After their first bottling of 120 cases in 1991, the Sawyers purchased the vineyard in 1994 and started renovating the barn three years later.

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