NAPA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Winemaker James MacPhail is joining The Hess Collection in a move described as “a coming together of two families”, bringing along his MacPhail Family Wines while continuing his work as the founding winemaker for Sequana Vineyards.
The Hess Collection will acquire the MacPhail Family Wines brand, as well as existing inventory, and winemaker MacPhail will continue to be the hands-on winemaker for both Sequana Vineyards and MacPhail Family Wines. Details of the acquisition will remain private.
“While working with the team at The Hess Collection to build Sequana Vineyards, I developed a solid appreciation of our shared ideals and commitment to Pinot Noir,” explained MacPhail. “This ‘union’ allows me to focus on what I love to do best, which is simply crafting limited production Pinot Noir from exceptional appellations, continuing our exploration of the finest Pinot Noir vineyards.”
Gary Bulger, president of The Hess Collection, said MacPhail Family Wines complements and builds on the success that Sequana Vineyards has enjoyed since its first vintage in 2007. “We have long considered James to be a part of our extended family, and we welcome the opportunity to enhance and enrich our relationship.” Bulger said no changes are planned with either winery.
MacPhail Family Wines was founded in 2002 with a “sole passion to handcraft Pinot Noir from premier Sonoma and Anderson Valley/Mendocino appellations.” Sequana Vineyards, with a debut vintage in 2007, focuses on cool-climate growing regions, principally Green Valley of the Russian River Valley and the Santa Lucia Highlands, in Monterey. Both projects have received notable acclaim from wine reviewers and the wine trade alike.
MacPhail Family Wines and Sequana Vineyards offer a variety of vineyard designated wines of limited production, usually just a few hundred cases for each expression. MacPhail produces 4,000 cases annually, while Sequana produces about 11,000 cases each year.
Sequana Vineyards wines range in price from $32 to $50, with MacPhail Family Wines offerings at $40 to $60.
James MacPhail followed an unconventional path to winemaking, growing up in Marin County in a family with roots dating to the 1880’s and broad-ranging interests in disparate business interests, including dairy farming near Tomales Bay as well as ventures in appliances, building materials and natural gas.
His early experiences included travel, the arts and athletics. He became an accomplished classical pianist and bagpiper, most famously playing “Amazing Grace” solo in San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall for Queen Elizabeth when she visited Northern California in 1982. In 1983, he became the youngest swimmer to swim across the Golden Gate, and remains a nationally ranked Masters Class competitive swimmer.
After an early career in hospitality, he began apprenticing with notable Sonoma County winemakers, and quickly focused on Pinot Noir, and a passionate bond was formed. He still crafts other varietals into much appreciated wines, but Pinot Noir has become his signature.
“Making wine has always symbolized something very special to me,” James remarked. “Slowing down, letting the creativity lead you in this fast paced world, is a rare privilege. Hand-crafting wines that bring joy to people, encouraging them to spend quality time with friends and family, is something I truly appreciate.
“For me, Sequana and MacPhail Family wines are all about creating and sharing my passion, whenever and wherever I can.”
Hess Family Estates produces terroir driven wines on four continents, and includes the wines of The Hess Collection on Mount Veeder in the Napa Valley; Artezin from California’s North Coast; Sequana, highlighting Sonoma’s Russian River Valley and the Santa Lucia Highlands of the Central Coast; Colomé and Amalaya from the Salta Province of Argentina; Glen Carlou from Paarl, South Africa; and Peter Lehmann wines from Australia’s Barossa Valley. Visit Hess Family Estates at hess-family.com/.