Bob Lindquist with new partner Charles Banks

Qupe winery's Bob Lindquist with new partner Charles Banks. (Jeremy Ball)

The controlling interest in landmark Central Coast winery Qupé has been acquired by investor Charles Banks. Bob Lindquist, the pioneering original owner, will stay on as a partner and winemaker.

Qupé was founded in 1982, one of the first high-quality wineries in Santa Maria County. Lindquist was one of the earliest advocates of the Syrah grape and other Rhone varietals -- a founder of the group that would become known as the Rhone Rangers.

The winery is the second landmark acquisition by Banks and his Terroir Selections this year. In April,  he purchased Mayacamas Vineyards in the Napa Valley, one of the finest Chardonnay growers in California. He is also part-owner of Sandhi (star sommelier Rajat Parr’s Central Coast project), as well as Los Olivos’ historic Mattei’s Tavern restaurant. Banks is the former co-owner of Napa cult Cab Screaming Eagle.

“I am thrilled to work alongside a gifted winemaker and legend like Bob Lindquist,” Banks said in a statement. “Bob has been a steadfast visionary of Syrah for decades. Few have done as much as Bob to advance awareness for Syrah in the United States. I love Syrah and have wanted to work on a meaningful Syrah project for a number of years now. With an infusion of capital from Terroir Selections, Bob and I are both confident that we can strengthen Qupé’s future allowing it to remain the benchmark in American Rhone-inspired wines.”

Lindquist said he had been looking for a long-term financial partner for some time. “It’s so competitive for a family-owned winery these days,” he says. “It’s nice to have a financial partner who shares our vision. Charles is such a wine geek. He’s a perfect fit. And he’s local.”

He said that there were some details still to be worked out, but that no major changes were planned. “We literally just got the deal put together and now we have to let the dust settle and do the real work. But we don’t plan on changing. Sawyer-Lindquist Vineyard in Edna Valley and Bien Nacido in Santa Maria will continue to be the primary vineyard sources going forward.”

He added that the winemaking facility he shares with fellow Central Coast pioneer Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat will also continue.

 “Charles likes what we’re doing. Our goal is going to be the same: get more people to drink Syrah. Our getting together was really a little bit of serendipity. But sometimes serendipity works as well as anything.”

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