JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery Adds Lewis Cellars to Portfolio
September 02, 2021
Another big player is entering the Napa Valley.
Justin Vineyards and Winery announced on Wednesday it has acquired Lewis Cellars, a small, family-owned winery on the edge of the city of Napa. The purchasing price for Lewis Cellars’ brand, assets and inventory was not disclosed.
Paso Robles-based Justin is a division of The Wonderful Company, the empire owned by billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick of Beverly Hills.
The acquisition of Lewis Cellars is The Wonderful Company’s first entry into the Napa Valley. The Wonderful Company also owns Landmark Wines in Sonoma and JNSQ. The company’s other brands include Fiji Water, POM Wonderful, Wonderful Halos and Wonderful Pistachios.
The winery property where Lewis Cellars is located on Big Ranch Road belongs to an entity owned by the Corley family of nearby Monticello Vineyards, according to county records. Justin is taking over the long-term lease, according to Justin Bell, president and general manager at Lewis Cellars.
Clarence Chia, senior vice president of marketing, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer for Justin Vineyards and Winery said said there will be no immediate changes at Lewis Cellars. Bell and Randy Lewis remain at the winery.
The winery’s five employees are expected to remain in place, including winemaker James McCeney. Randy Lewis will continue to help run the business, said Bell, Lewis Cellars’ general manager and president.
The sale came as Randy Lewis was ready to take a step back after three decades, Bell said. They also wanted to take the winery to the next level.
“We’ve been looking for someone to partner with,” Bell said Wednesday. “It’s been a gradual, deliberate process.”
Chia praised Lewis Cellars. “Lewis Cellars has a rich history, superior quality, and a pedigree that made it the perfect winery to help us expand into the Napa Valley region,” Chia said. “We look forward to upholding the Lewis brand, and the essence and ethos that Randy and Debbie established, while helping new audiences learn about and enjoy Lewis’s exquisite Napa Valley wine.”
Randy Lewis and his late wife, Debbie, founded Lewis Cellars in 1992 after Randy ended his professional car racing career.
The family custom crushed their wines for years before moving to the winery on Big Ranch Road in 2003, said Bell, Debbie’s son. The winery produces 9,000 to 10,000 cases a year, said Bell, who joined the family business in 1999. The wine is distributed nationwide.
The winery has had long-term contracts with growers throughout the Napa Valley, from Calistoga to St. Helena, Rutherford and Oak Knoll. The winery also produces Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley. The grapegrowers were being notified Wednesday of the sale of Lewis Cellars, Bell said.
Randy Lewis welcomed Justin. “As we approach our thirty-year anniversary, we’ve had the pleasure of perfecting our wines for decades. With the additional resources and industry expertise available through this partnership, we can really show the world the excellence we’ve bottled.”
Lewis Cellars’ 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon topped Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year list in 2016.
International Wine Associates (IWA) served as the exclusive advisors to and represented Lewis Cellars in this transaction.