Bob Lindquist explains the sale of his legendary Santa Barbara winery, Qupe


I caught up yesterday with Qupe founder Bob Lindquist, who recently announced that his 36-year-old Santa Barbara County winery had been sold to Vintage Wine Estates. “It’s all real new, but obviously the situation with Terroir was pretty well documented,” he said. “It was not going anywhere positive.”

Lindquist was referring, of course, to Qupe’s previous sale. In 2014 he sold a stake to winery investment firm Terroir Life. But when Terroir founder Banks pleaded guilty to defrauding basketball star Tim Duncan last year, Qupe — and other high-profile wineries in which Terroir had an interest, including Wind Gap and Sandhi — suddenly found themselves in a major crisis. “We had lost our clout,” Lindquist said, especially when it came to getting attention from national distributors.

Qupe will be something of an outlier in the portfolio of Napa-based Vintage Wine Estates, which owns brands including B.R. Cohn, Layer Cake and the Game of Thrones wines. Vintage brings big resources to a small-ish winery like Qupe, which produces about 30,000 cases annually, and helps solve that distribution puzzle. They’re looking to expand their presence in the Central Coast, Lindquist said.

“It didn’t necessarily seem like a natural fit,” Lindquist said, “but it’s one of those things, you never know until you try.” He no longer owns a stake in Qupe; he’s an employee, and will continue to make the wines in the same beautiful, restrained style that he always has.

Could Lindquist, who is 65, have imagined that he would end up here, back in the 1980’s when he was scrappily building his winery (with his friend, the Au Bon Climat winemaker Jim Clendenen) on the outskirts of the famed Bien Nacido Vineyard? No, he says. “The wine business in general has just changed so much in the last 10 years, with bigger companies getting bigger, more consolidation. I hardly recognize the wine business from the way it used to be.”

But he’s optimistic. “Luckily, the winemaking part — that doesn’t change,” Lindquist says. “The vineyards, they don’t know what’s going on out in the marketplace.”

Where I’m drinking

If you saw our big Italian food package in last Sunday’s paper, you know that I’ve been drinking a lot of Italian wine all over San Francisco. I published a guide to restaurants and bars in this city that follow what I’ve called the A16 model: Italian wine lists that focus on lesser-known regions and indigenous grapes rather than the Italian trophy wines, Barolo and Brunello. Many of these spots — like Flour + Water and La Ciccia — I’ve enjoyed many times in the past, but Uva Enoteca, in the Haight, was a new discovery for me, and one I’ll be returning to a lot. In addition to a fabulously eclectic (and all-Italian) wine list, which frequently has some glass pours with a little bit of age, Uva has great happy hour specials, with $6 glasses. (P.S.: I also profiled Acquerello for the section, which has one of the most important wine programs in San Francisco.)

What I’m drinking

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Want to get the wine world in your inbox every week? Subscribe to Drinking with Esther.

As I was thinking about the Qupe sale the other night, I opened a bottle of Ojai Vineyard White Hawk Vineyard Syrah 2006, whose owner and winemaker Adam Tolmach is a contemporary and neighbor of Bob Lindquist’s. We had made a pot roast for dinner (even though it still feels like summer here in San Francisco!), and this Syrah was its soulmate, its vibrant acidity cutting through the richness of the pan jus, its gamey flavors echoing the depth of the meat. White Hawk is a sandy site in Santa Barbara County’s Cat Canyon, and other great producers including Big Table Farm, Rideau and Sine Qua Non have worked with its fruit. The 2006 Ojai is still singing, delicate with a grippy, almost leathery texture, exploding with bright raspberry. I’m just glad I didn’t open the bottle prematurely. (The current vintage is $50.)

What I’m reading

Looking for more ideas about where to drink? Consider the Cordial, a spritz-focused bar that Greg Lindgren and Jon Gasparini, who also own 15 Romolo and Rye, quietly opened this summer. “It’s a perfectly grown-up but unfussy bar that’s ideal for grabbing an early drink with a co-worker,” writes Maggie Hoffman.

And Emma Silvers pays a visit to Dimples, the notorious Japantown karaoke bar. “There’s a mythology to this place,” Silvers writes, “and you don’t need to be a troublemaker to leave Dimples with a good story.”

Following a local outcry from lovers of independent craft breweries, Anheuser-Busch InBev has pulled the plug on its controversial plans to open a location of Golden Road brewery in Oakland, Justin Phillips reports.

For those days you’d rather not spend driving up Highway 29, Bryce Wiatrak has a guide to the best tasting rooms in downtown Napa, in The Press.

File under global warming evidence: Wine is now being made in Norway. Julia Harding has a nice piece on the family that’s pioneering Scandinavian Riesling.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel takes a look at a trio of exciting young winemakers who are sharing a winemaking facility outside Watsonville. One of them, Ryan Stirm, was one of The Chronicle’s 2017 Winemakers to Watch.

In Bio Bio, Chile, 26 previously unrecorded grape varieties have been discovered! These grapes could be good candidates in areas where climate change and drought threaten viticulture, suggests Decanter.

“Why can’t we admit we like something we drink so much of?” Josh Barro asks of Chardonnay in New York magazine. He likens the much-maligned white wine to mayonnaise: We say we don’t like it, yet sales figures suggest that we really, really do.

Drinking with Esther is a weekly newsletter from The Chronicle’s wine critic. Follow along on Twitter: @Esther_Mobley and Instagram: @esthermob

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source link

What's Your Reaction?

Cry Cry
0
Cry
Cute Cute
0
Cute
Damn Damn
0
Damn
Dislike Dislike
0
Dislike
Like Like
0
Like
Lol Lol
0
Lol
Love Love
0
Love
Win Win
0
Win
WTF WTF
0
WTF

Comments 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like

More From: Wine

DON'T MISS

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format