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Family-Owned Napa, Sonoma County Wineries Getting Bought Up Like Tech Startups

SONOMA (KPIX 5) -- Wineries in Sonoma County are getting bought up like tech startups in Silicon Valley, with paydays nearly as pricey.

"There is an awful lot of excitement about these wineries sales and purchases.  I'll tell ya (sic), each one is a little more amazing than the last," KCBS food and wine critic Narsai David said.

B.R. Cohen was the latest family-owned winery to sell to corporate hands.  Arrowood also sold recently.

"I think that's one of the things we love most about Sonoma, that it has that smaller feel; that it's not just like the Disneyland of wineries," wine lover Christine Aryloch said.

Owners are getting offers they can't refuse.  A pinot noir producing label just sold for $315 million.  That price doesn't include the Sonoma County land, or the grapes – just the label and remaining stock.

Investors, including French wineries who once turned their noses up at California wines are taking notice, but David says California's grape growing valleys won't turn into the Walmart of wines anytime soon.

"California is not going to let the Napa Valley suddenly become a corporate entity that no longer makes great wine."

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