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A ‘Succession-style’ family feud is impacting the future of a Napa vineyard

Seven siblings with a potential claim on the future of Monticello Vineyards has created a “Succession-style” family feud, according to reports. 

This week the San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the family of Jay Corley, who founded the winery and died in 2016, have been disputing what to do with the vineyard.

The situation does have shades of the popular TV show Succession, due to the large cast of people involved and the complicated arrangements, involving a number of different siblings.

Following Corley’s death, it is claimed by Carolyn Corley, his daughter, that four of the brothers — Mark, Kent, Stephen and Michael — began work on a takeover. Another brother, Kevin Corley, served as president and chairman, but had “less power” and hasn’t been involved in operations directly since 2022. Another brother, Chris Corley, resigned from the board last year.


Carolyn claimed to the news outlet that both Chris and Michael alongside herself wanted to keep Monticello as a family-run concern. But the other four brothers wanted to sell the winery, although they declined to comment on the issue.

Mark is currently  president and chairman of the vineyard with Kent as the corporate secretary. Last year, 100 shareholders were told that the business could potentially be sold, according to the reports, and this March discussions begun.

Despite not being a ‘big name’ in Napa, the vineyard is still one of the very few which are family-owned, at the time of writing.


Carolyn Corley told the Chronicle that there was “so much potential and history” at the vineyard and that she “didn’t want to sell”.

In a statement to the Chronicle, Chris Corley said he had “enthusiastically worked for and served Monticello in every department” for the last four decades and he planned “to do so going forward as long as I’m able.”

In addition, he said he was an “absolute and enthusiastic supporter of the legacy that our father started” when he founded the company in 1970.

But a shareholder said that the in-fighting was “like a soap opera” and the best outcome was to sell the company.


The estate currently produces a number of different wines, including a sparkling wine, a Pinot Noir, a Chardonnay and a number of Cabernet Sauvignons.

It is certified organic on two of its vineyards, and is working towards certification of a third, according to the vineyard’s website.

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