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Former Screaming Eagle owner buys Mayacamas Vineyards

Charles Banks, the former owner of California cult winery Screaming Eagle, has bought historic Napa Valley estate Mayacamas Vineyards.

Charles and Ali Banks
Charles and Ali Banks

An investment banker before moving into wine, Banks and his wife Ali bought the winery in a partnership with retail entrepreneur Jay Schottenstein and his son Joey for an undisclosed sum.

Chairman of clothing company American Eagle Outfitters, Jay Schottenstein also bought Carmel Winery in Israel earlier this year.

Founded in 1889 by San Francisco pickle merchant John Henry Fisher, Mayacamas Vineyards is one of Napa’s oldest boutique wineries, which has built its reputation on ageworthy Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

The 188-hectare estate, which currently has 21 hectares under vine, fell into disuse after Prohibition, but was revived in 1941.

“I’ve been poking around Mayacamas for six years now trying to work with owner Bob Travers,” Banks told Wine Spectator.

Husband-and-wife team Andy Erickson, also formerly of Screaming Eagle, and Annie Favia have been enlisted as Mayacamas’ new winemakers.

Banks is keen to begin replanting immediately and expand the estate’s vineyard area to 30 hectares, dedicated the majority to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

But while keen to replant, Banks aims to stay true to the estate’s roots.

“I want to stay focused on the style of wine made here and continue Bob’s legacy,” Banks told WS.

Banks, who earlier this month purchased a controlling share of Wind Gap in Sonoma, also owns South African estate Mulderbosch and Pinot and Chardonnay specialist Sandhi in Santa Barbara.

He snapped up Screaming Eagle in 2004 with real estate magnate Stan Kroenke, but sold his share in the winery in 2009 to set up winery investment group Terroir Capital, leaving Kroenke as the sole owner.

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