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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bill Foley -- Collector

Some of us buy wine and maybe even a few extra bottles to build up a collection. Some billionaires collect wineries.

Bill Foley, owner of the Foley Wine Group, made his money in the financial sector and got into wine late. I suppose it's sort of a hobby. He owns numerous wineries, but has really been on a tear this year as he's bought three wineries and a vineyard. His Sonoma County holdings include Sebastiani and Chalk Hill Wineries. According to his own website he now has about a dozen wineries in California plus one each in Washington and New Zealand. His most recent is in nearby Lake County--the 23,000 acre Langtry Winery that also has the Guenoc label.

A lot of this has been just in the last month. Maybe he needs a tax write-off for 2012. Or maybe the prices are right as some wineries are probably getting a bit stressed financially by the recession and a few years of small grape harvests. With three years of short harvests the word is when the economy, and wine buying, picks up there will be a grape shortage in California. So those with the cash are buying up vineyard property.

I will guess ol' Bill's not done yet.