10 May Napa locals take back a winery
It seems that we are always hearing about small wineries being bought by larger wineries or companies. Whether it be the financial challenges to run a small business or the “American dream” to make a profit, many family wineries cease to be family-owned when they are acquired.
Rarely do we hear the converse but Jamieson Ranch is a story of locals taking back the winery from a private equity firm and putting it back in family hands.
Located at the southernmost point in Napa Valley, Jamieson Ranch sits on 300 acres. The land was first developed by the Kirkland family, cattle ranchers, in 1998. In 2009, the ranch was taken over by a private equity firm when the Kirkland business went bankrupt. The property was renamed Valley Gate Vineyards and operated as a custom-crush facility. As the company shifted to making their own wines, it was named Reata, which was the name of the ranch in the movie “Giant.”
In 2013, Bill Leigon joined Reata. Originally from Houston, Texas, Leigon has a degree in acting and singing and went to New York to study with Lee Strasburg.
While singing, he also began selling wine, first at a retail store and then on the wholesale side for a Loire Valley importer. That job brought him to Los Angeles, California and in 1988 he moved to Napa.
Read the complete story in the Napa Valley Register.