Napa Valley's Flora Springs winery sold to owners of France's Château Smith Haut Lafitte
The couple who own the Château Smith Haut Lafitte in France's Bordeaux region have inked an agreement with the owners of Flora Springs winery to sell the 280-acre estate, located near St. Helena on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas range separating Napa and Sonoma counties.
The deal includes 58 vineyard acres planted around the stone winery building originally built in the late 1880s, but it doesn't include the Flora Springs brands or Napa Valley vineyard sources, according to the announcement. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
The estate was founded in 1885 by two brothers from Scotland, James and William Rennie. After ownership changes in the early 1900s, the winery fell into disuse with Prohibition in 1920. Jerry and Flora Komes bought the property in 1977, and the families of their children John Komes and Julie Garvey created Flora Springs Estate a year later.
"(I) think that sales like this are an inevitable fact of life and part of estate and succession planning, particularly when you have a large, extended family as we do," said John Komes in responses prepared for a Wine Spectator story that first reported the sale Tuesday.
The new owners of the estate, Florence and Daniel Cathiard, plan to rename it Cathiard Family Estate. Former skiing champions, they acquired Château Smith Haut Lafitte 30 years ago, and it has become a notable grand cru ("first growth") producers of the Bordeaux region.
“This represents a bright new chapter for Flora Springs where our family’s next generation can be laser focused on excellent winemaking, customer service and hospitality,” said John Komes, part of the second generation of owners, in a statement.
The Komes and Garvey families will retain the Flora Springs, Trilogy and Soliloquy brands, over 275 acres of Napa Valley vineyards, the tasting room on St. Helena Highway, according to the announcement. The plan is to have a warehouse in St. Helena converted to a winery in time for the crush this fall, and a new production facility is being sought elsewhere, said Mora Cronin, a spokeswoman for the winery.
Also being retained in the deal is John Komes' house just south of the winery, according to his statement to Wine Spectator. He has been building behind his house for two decades a small winery, called Jon Nathaniel Winery after his son Nat, who was general manager of Flora Springs, Cronin said.
Leading the Flora Springs brands going forward will be the Jerry and Flora Komes' grandchildren, the third generation.
The exclusive financial adviser to the Cathiards in the deal was Aspect Consumer Partners. Healdsburg-based International Wine Associates brought the buyer to the Garvey, Ross, McIntosh, Myers, Komes and Dolge families and was their exclusive financial adviser in the sale.