Sunday, June 17 , 2018, 9:10 pm | Fair 61º




Laurie Jervis: Gallo Winery Buys 2 Santa Maria Valley Vineyards in a Week

E&J Gallo Winery has announced its second purchase of a Santa Barbara County vineyard in the space of one week.

Both properties are located in the Santa Maria Valley American Viticultural Area.

The Modesto-based wine company, which already owns more than 4,300 vineyard acres along the Central Coast, last week bought the Sierra Madre Vineyard property from agricultural investor Doug Circle.

The property, 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean, includes 151 planted acres of vineyards on 542 acres, according to

Sierra Madre currently supplies fruit to about 35 wineries that range in size from small to larger-scale producers.

“This purchase affirms our commitment to compete in the luxury wine segment,” a Gallo spokesman said, adding that Gallo also plans to use Sierra Madre grapes in its own wines.

The sale price was not disclosed. However, public records indicate the deal could be worth $30.2 million, according to

Days before announcing the Sierra Madre Vineyard purchase, Gallo bought an even larger vineyard — the 436-acre Rancho Real Vineyard at 6020 Highway 101, south of Clark Avenue in Orcutt.

Located on the western edge of the AVA, Rancho Real includes 211 acres planted to various grape varietals, among them pinot noir, chardonnay, syrah, grenache, viognier, pinot gris and gamay, according to published reports.

Public records indicate that sale was nearly $14.5 million, according to

A Gallo representative said the company will honor all grape contracts with existing customers at both vineyards.

Rancho Real Vineyard was planted in 2008 under the guidance of industry veteran Rob Murray, the Gallo spokesman said.

Circle, president and chief executive officer of Circle Vision LLC of Placentia, said he farmed strawberries in the Santa Maria Valley when he originally purchased Sierra Madre from Robert Mondavi 15 years ago – before Mondavi was sold to Constellation Brands.

Over the years, Circle estimated that Sierra Madre supplied more than 100 wineries with fruit.

Circle, who invests in commercial and agricultural real estates, said he will redeploy assets to other projects.

“Our family has a 35-year history in agriculture on the Central Coast, and we remain wholeheartedly committed to the region,” he said in a written statement.

“We feel blessed to have had the opportunity to shepherd this magical Central Coast vineyard for 15 years of its exceptional 47-year history, and we are pleased that it is now passing to another family who will responsibly steward it into its next chapter.”

Roger Nabedian, senior vice president and general manager of Gallo’s premium wine division, was equally effusive.

“We are thrilled to add this impressive vineyard to our premium portfolio,” he said in the same written statement.

“This purchase supports Gallo’s commitment to continue making and selling luxury wines, while growing the finest grapes in Santa Barbara County.”

Gallo, the world’s largest wine producer, has mainly used grapes from the San Joaquin Valley over its 85-year history. Founders Ernest and Julio Gallo ventured into California coastal regions starting in the 1980s.

This includes another Santa Barbara County property, Bridlewood Estate Winery, acquired in 2004.

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Elizabeth Wagner
Elizabeth Wagner
"I consider myself to be an up front and honest agent and willing to talk my clients out of purchasing a property that isn’t right for them or won’t meet their needs in a year or two."

Full Profile >