Napa’s Uptown Theater sold to JaM Cellars
Uptown Theater in Napa, where performers such as Willie Nelson, Boz Scaggs, Leon Russell, Rosanne Cash, George Thorogood, Merle Haggard and John Prine took the stage, has been sold to the owners of the wine company famous for its “Butter” chardonnay.
JaM Cellars, owned by John Anthony Family of Wines, has acquired the iconic theater in downtown Napa from by George Altamura. He bought the facility in 2000 and transformed and restored the theater to its original Art Deco style, re-opening it in 2010 as a live entertainment venue.
The purchase price of the transaction, which closed Tuesday, was not announced.
“Owning and managing the Uptown Theater has been a passion of mine for over 20 years. I’m proud of the reputation that the Uptown has earned and the entertainment it has brought the residents and visitors of Napa over the years,” Altamura. “Now it’s time to hand over the reins to someone equally committed to the City of Napa and continue the vision to make Napa a destination for world-class entertainment alongside our world-class wines.”
He said he opened discussions last year about selling the property, which first opened in 1937 with a silver-screen premiere of “Ever Since Eve.” Altimura was in talks with John Truchard, founder and CEO of John Anthony Family of Wines and JaM Cellars Inc.
“I was honored when George approached me about acquiring the Uptown Theater,” Truchard stated. “I went to a Foreigner concert there in the summer of 2010 and remember thinking to myself what a cool venue it was, and that my future might one day be intertwined with the Uptown. When George first approached me in late 2021, it was an immediate yes. Over the last six months I've gotten to know George a little and have gained tremendous respect for what he has accomplished with the Uptown and his other interests in the Napa Valley. He has been very generous with his time and is looking forward to passing the baton and being able to attend shows as a concertgoer with a glass of wine in his hand.”
In addition to operating tasting rooms nearby, John Anthony Family of Wines and Truchard also own JaM Cellars Wine & Music Studio.
Truchard also owns the Napa Valley Opera House, which houses the Blue Note jazz club, and the JaM Cellars Ballroom, a 650-person live music venue. The Journal reported in 2019 that John and Michele Truchard, co-founders of the JaM Cellars brand, purchased the building in downtown Napa for $4.2 million.
Integrating those properties into the operation of the Uptown will be among the new owners’ priorities, as will increasing the frequency of the offerings at Uptown, which like all other entertainment venues, suffered from months of COVID-inspired shutdowns.