By Meghan Hall
A family-owned winery in Napa has traded hands, selling to a major Korean firm. According to industry reports, Shafer Vineyards was purchased for $250.3 million by South Korean-based firm Shinsegae, a department store franchise. The news was first reported by The Korea Herald Wednesday.
The winery itself was first established in 1972. Shafer Vineyards’ President, Doug Shafer, as well as Winemaker Elias Fernandez, will remain in their roles. Shafer has been president since 1994, while Fernandez was hired in 1984 as an assistant winemaker just three weeks before his graduation from U.C. Davis. Shafer took over the running of the winery after his parents, John and Bett Shafer. In all, the property spans 209 acres.
“For those who are fans of our wines and our team, you’ll see a continuation of everything you love about the winery,” Shafer said in a statement. “While at the same time there may be some new things down the road that I think you will love and embrace as well.”
The vineyard’s first wine was a Cabernet Sauvignon, produced between 1973 and 1974, according to Shafer’s website. Over the years, the winery expanded its product line to include Chardonnay, dessert wines and more.
Shinsegae L&B, the beverage arm of the firm, has sold beer and wine brands internationally since 2015. It also operates Wine & More, a liquor chain, across South Korea, and its acquisition of Shafer is its first foray into the U.S. wine industry. The firm hopes to expand Shafer’s presence in select markets.