Gallo takes the high road by Stagecoach

California-based E. & J. Gallo, for a long time the largest family-owned wine company in the U.S. but now in the world as well with a huge portfolio of some 80 brands, has announced its recent purchase of Stagecoach Vineyards in the Napa Valley. This sizeable property, whose 600 acres (243 hectares) planted to vine constitute the largest contiguous vineyard in the whole Napa Valley, is located in the Pritchard Hill area. This prestigious and trendy hillside sector of the Vaca Mountains is home to Bryant and Chappellet as well as Tim Mondavi’s Continuum. Stagecoach was founded in 1995 by Dr. Jan Krupp, not as wine brand, but as a grape growing operation.  As befits its name, the early years were a bumpy road as Krupp and his partners developed the vineyard on the rugged volcanic soil. In time, Stagecoach became known in the valley for its quality fruit sourced by other leading premium brands such as Caymus, Duckhorn, and Pahlmeyer, as well as by Gallo for its Louis Martini winery. In the official announcement of the acquisition, Roger Nabedian, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Gallo’s Premium Wine Division, explains the strategy behind it : “This purchase affirms Gallo’s commitment to compete in the luxury wine segment and provides us the opportunity to continue making and selling luxury wine offerings such as Louis M. Martini, William Hill Estate and Orin Swift.”