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WINE NOTES

Christian Brothers Wine Maker Resigns

November 24, 1989|DAN BERGER | TIMES WINE WRITER

Tom Eddy, wine maker at the Christian Brothers for the last five years, has resigned from the Heublein-owned winery to accept the position of wine maker at St. Michael's Winery, a new winery that as yet has no vineyards planted or winery constructed.

The move comes at the same time that Tom Selfridge, who has been associated with Beaulieu Vineyard for 17 years, announced his resignation as president of BV, another Heublein-owned property. Selfridge will pursue other interests, according to a statement from the company.

The announcements are two of a series affecting Heublein properties since the company acquired the Christian Brothers last July in a deal estimated to be worth about $150 million. Following that deal, Richard L. Maher, president of the Christian Brothers Sales Co., was appointed president of Heublein Fine Wine Group, after which major changes began.

Eddy, formerly wine maker at Souverain in Geyserville, in Sonoma County, was one of the key people behind the resurgence of the Christian Brothers premium wines in the last few years. Heublein did not immediately announce a successor for him at the Christian Brothers.

The St. Michael's Winery property is located south of Calistoga, across the Napa Valley from Sterling on Diamond Mountain.

Andre Bosc, 77, a successful San Francisco real estate developer, acquired the 175-acre ranch in 1960, but just a handful of the 100 plantable acres now bear vines.

However, before Napa County imposed a moratorium on new winery construction earlier this year, Bosc obtained the last Napa Valley winery permit. It was approved for a 100,000-case winery.

Eddy, 37, said St. Michael's will make Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot as well as a small amount of sparkling wine and Pinot Noir. The first estate wines will be available in 1994, but Bosc, who is of French heritage and was born and reared in Napa County, intends to have wines, made from purchased grapes, on the market by 1992.

Eddy said the foundation of the winery has been poured and construction will be completed early next year.

Connecticut-based Heublein, a subsidiary of Grand Metropolitan PLC of Great Britain, also announced that John Richburg, wine maker at Inglenook Vineyards in the Napa Valley since 1979, will become general manager of the property. He replaces Dennis Fife, who left Inglenook shortly after the Heublein acquisition of the Christian Brothers and the restructuring of the company's Fine Wine Group headed by Maher.

Anthony Bell, a 1978 graduate of the University of California at Davis School of Enology and Viticulture, was appointed vice president and general manager at BV.

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