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Antinori’s Antica Napa Valley Venture Reaches Critical Mass

May 24, 2016

Italy’s Antinori family released the first estate wines from Antica Napa Valley, its property in the Atlas Peak AVA, in 2007. Since then, the company has invested aggressively in Antica’s vineyards, growing production from about 1,600 cases the first year to its current 10,000 cases, focused on estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The Antica wines, which thus far have garnered scores in the high 80s and low 90s from Wine Spectator, are distributed in the U.S. by Antinori partner Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (Ste. Michelle also handles Antinori’s Italian wines in the U.S., and the two companies are joint venture partners in Napa Valley’s Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Washington’s Col Solare). SND recently interviewed Antinori California estate manager Glenn Salva to find out where the Antica Napa business is headed.

SND: Which wines in the Antica portfolio have the most potential for growth?

Salva: We have 600 acres planted to vineyard, 300 acres of which are Cabernet Sauvignon. We’re excited about the growth potential for our Antica Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($55), and the single-vineyard “Townsend” Cabernet Sauvignon ($95), which is the pinnacle of the Antica portfolio. Our wines are still young: the first estate vintage, 2004, was released in 2007. My vision for the Townsend Cabernet is that it will join the ranks of the iconic Antinori wines Tignanello and Solaia in the not so distant future.

SND: Where have you been channeling investments in the winery lately?

Salva: Piero Antinori stated early on that “this is a long-term investment for the next generation, and a valuable addition to Antinori’s vineyards.” That’s a testament to having the patience for long-term results. Beginning in 2009, we initiated an extensive replanting, on average 25 acres of new vineyard per year. We’re investing $1 million annually to maximize grape quality on the Antica estate.

SND: How much of Antica’s sales are direct-to-consumer versus three-tier? How do you see that equation evolving moving forward?

Salva: Approximately 5% of the Antica wine business is sold direct-to-consumer, 85% is sold through the three-tier system and 10% is exported to other countries. We see great opportunity in increasing our direct-to-consumer business, as well as our exports, given that Antinori’s Tuscan wines are sold in more than 150 countries around the world.

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