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Lincourt Vineyards Expands Presence in Santa Rita Hills

by Rachel Nichols
April 12, 2007
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Santa Barbara vintner William "Bill" Foley II announced the purchase of the 213-acre Gaia Vineyards, formerly known as Fess Parker's "Ashley's Vineyard," in the Santa Rita Hills AVA. Additionally, Foley owns the Foley Estates Vineyard and Winery, also in the Santa Rita Hills AVA, as well as Lincourt Vineyards in Solvang.

Gaia Vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varieties. Foley plans to name the Pinot Noir vineyard "Lindsay's Vineyard" and the Chardonnay vineyard "Courtney's Vineyard," in honor of his two daughters.

According to Alan Phillips, winemaker at Foley Estate, the fruit from the new property will be used to supply Lincourt Vineyards. "It's a way to develop a very clear identity and raise the bar for Lincourt," he said. "It elevates Lincourt to a status equal to Foley. That is one of the great things we are getting out of this whole deal."

Prior to the purchase of the property, Lincourt Vineyards was forced to purchase grapes in addition to the ones it produced, so its wine carried the Santa Barbara County appellation. "With this purchase we can call it a Santa Rita appellation," Phillips said. "We think it has a great image, quality and, more specifically, it's a groovy place to be if you're making Pinot Noir. We will also be selling small quantities of grapes to other vintners in the Santa Rita Hills appellation with the concept that they will vineyard designate the wine."

The new ranch has 213 acres of existing grapes that were planted in 1997, allowing Lincourt to produce wine from the property this year.

According to Phillips, Parker decided to sell the vineyard in order to gain money for another project. The price of the land was not disclosed but Phillips did say "we aren't paying Napa prices, that's for sure, but for the Santa Rita Hills standards it was a fair price."

Foley Estates Vineyard and Winery and Lincourt Vineyards were both founded in 1996 by Foley. Foley Estates is located at 6121 E. Hwy, Lompoc, CA 93436. Lincourt Vineyards is located at 1711 Pintado, Solvang, CA 93463.

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