21st April, 2017 by Rupert Millar
Napa Valley winery Silver Oak has acquired fellow Napa estate Ovid for an estimated US$50 million.
Ovid is located in the prestigious St Helena sub-region of Pritchard Hill (home to Bryant and Colgin among others) and covers just over 16 acres of vineyards. First planted in the early 2000s by Mark Nelson and Dana Johnson – both software entrepreneurs – the estate has been producing wine since 2005 with the help of famed Napa consultants David Abreu and Andy Erickson as well as winemaker Austin Peterson who has been at the helm since 2011 and who cut his teeth in winemaking at Michel Rolland’s old Bordeaux property, Le Bon Pasteur.
Despite being a relative newcomer to the Napa scene, Ovid has picked up accolades from the very beginning. The critic Robert Parker in The Wine Advocate noting that: “The wines of Ovid have been extraordinary since I first tasted them.”
The estate produces four wines in total, two of them every year and two more occasionally. The wines produced each year are; ‘Ovid’ a classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot and ‘Experiment’ which, as the name suggests, changes every year and involves different winemaking techniques each time and even, as in the case of the 2015 vintage, buying grapes to make a white wine.
Produced more sporadically are plot or site-specific wines ‘Hexameter’ – a single site Cabernet Franc wine named after the meter in which the Roman poet Ovid wrote his ‘Metamorphoses’ – and ‘Loc Cit.’ after the Latin ‘loco citato’ or “in the place stated”, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from a single block.
Silver Oak’s owner, David Duncan, told the San Francisco Chronicle that there were no plans to change anything at the estate, Peterson would continue as winemaker and the Experimental range would stay as well.
The only minor changes are that the former president of Cliff Lede Vineyards in Yountville, Jack Bittner, would join as managing partner and some “plantable acreage” would be put under vine over the next few years.
Silver Oak’s acquisition is not the only sale to have recently taken place in Pritchard Hill. Last month E & J Gallo bought the 1,300 acre Stagecoach Vineyard for an undisclosed sum.
READ MORE: Francis Ford Coppola acquires Silverwood Vineyard