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Paul Hobbs Takes a Stake in Napa Valley

Sonoma County winemaker purchases 90-acre estate in newly created Coombsville AVA

 

Sonoma County winemaker Paul Hobbs has added a coveted Napa Valley property to his vineyard holdings, it was announced this week, with the purchase of the 90-acre Tourmaline Vineyard southeast of Napa. While the owner of the property was not named, the vineyard was managed by GI Partners, a private equity investment firm.

Tourmaline is in the newly designated Coombsville viticultural region, an area recognized as the 16th sub-AVA of Napa Valley in 2011. It was planted a decade ago with 63 acres of Bordeaux grapes, including cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. The property has been a source for producers such as Cardinale, Merus, Chappellet as well as Paul Hobbs Winery.

Coombsville is distinguished from other parts of Napa Valley by a slightly cooler climate and a soil mix of well-draining river rock and mineral-rich volcanic ash. Current wineries in Coombsville include Ackerman Family Vineyards, Farella Vineyards, Frazier Winery, Porter Family Vineyards, Maroon Winery, and many others listed on this page.

"Tourmaline is an exceptional vineyard with a history of producing high-quality fruit," says Hobbs. "I'm honored to bring the Tourmaline Vineyard into our family of vineyards."

Hobbs currently owns several chardonnay and pinot noir vineyards in the Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, and his Paul Hobbs Winery produces syrah and cabernet as well. He also consults for wineries in Argentina, Chile, France and Armenia, and owns the Crossbarn Winery and Viña Cobos labels.

The new vineyard is Paul Hobbs Winery's first acquisition in the Napa Valley. But he has made wine from Napa grapes before: his 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, from Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, earned 100 points from Robert Parker Jr.’s, The Wine Advocate.

Last year several of Hobbs' land management activities created a stir in Sonoma County. He was accused of clear-cutting a 10-acre site near Guerneville without adequate permits, and cleared another 8 acres near Graton that he acquired as part of a bitter lawsuit with a neighbor, according to this October, 2011 article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

These and other charges were later cleared by a Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner's Office investigation, and Hobbs received apologies from some of his accusers.

"Paul himself is incredibly environmentally conscious," said marketing director Tara Sharp of Paul Hobbs Winery. "We're a good business community member, and very generous with gifts, donations and internships for students." She added that they give significant contributions to children's services and the North Bay Food Pantry in Napa as well as Sonoma counties.

NOTE: This article has been updated and corrected from an earlier version.

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