China wine portfolios: Summergate adds Inglenook, Clarendon Hills, Henriot Champagne

By Jim Boyce

During a recent stop in Beijing, Francis Ford Coppola, owner of Inglenook Estate in Napa Valley, said he paid more for the winery’s name than the land it is on. He also said he liked the movie Sideways much better than Bottle Shock. (Then again, who doesn’t?) More on Coppola soon, but for now a note that China-based importer and distributor Summergate is handling the label here and stocking the 2009 ‘Rubicon’ and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.

From the press release (my highlights): “Inglenook Vineyards was originally founded in 1880 by Gustave Niebaum, a Finnish sea captain who used his enormous wealth to import the best European grapevines to Napa. Over the next several decades under the guidance of the legendary John Daniel, Inglenook built a reputation as the source of some of the finest wines ever made. By 1975, however, when Francis and Eleanor Coppola first purchased part of the famed property, the Inglenook Estate had long since been broken up and its name sold off. The Coppolas spent the next thirty years reuniting the vineyards and restoring winemaking to the historic Inglenook Chateau.”

Summergate also just announced it has added Clarendon Hills from McLaren Vale in Australia: “The company, founded by biochemist Roman Bratasiuk in 1990 is still owned and sustained by the self-taught winemaking proprietor.” The wines include Clarendon Hills Bakers Gully Syrah 2006, Hickinbotham Grenache 2007, Hickinbotham Syrah 2006, Sandown Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 and “Astralis” Syrah 2006.

And earlier this year, it added Henriot Champagne: you can find it into Beijing retail shop Pudao Wines, where Summergate is the main backer.

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