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Gaylon Lawrence and Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy Jr. Announce the Acquisition of Napa Valley’s Legendary Stony Hill Vineyard and Appointment of Winemaker, Jaimee Motley and Estate Director, Laurie Taboulet

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Jaimee Motley, Laurie Taboulet by Matt Morris

Napa Valley, CA (December 23, 2020) – Gaylon Lawrence and Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Jr., have acquired legendary Napa Valley winery Stony Hill Vineyard. Jaimee Motley has been appointed as Winemaker, while Laurie Taboulet will take on the role of Estate Director.

“A great wine in its purist form is an expression of the intimate relationship between a passionate vigneron and the unique and exceptional terroir that they have been blessed to oversee. I have admired Jaimee’s wines created under various brands. These wines at times have verged on ethereal and have made it clear to me the potential in Napa that we have yet to fulfill. There are butterflies in my stomach to imagine the wines that will result from her connection with the vines of Stony Hill. I have full faith in Jaimee and Laurie’s ability to continue the legacy of this estate that was started by the McCrea family so long ago. “

Located on Spring Mountain, between St. Helena and Calistoga, Stony Hill Vineyard is one of Napa Valley’s legendary wineries known for its ageworthy wines. Originally purchased in 1943 by Fred and Eleanor McCrea, the couple set their sights on this homestead property as a weekend getaway. The McCreas had made the rugged hillside spot their home and started planting vines a few years later. Due to their fondness for the white wines of Burgundy, the couple wanted to plant the entire property with Chardonnay, though viticulture advisors recommended they diversify. With that in mind, the couple planted the first six acres of Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Blanc, and later added Gewürztraminer, Sémillon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

After the first harvest in 1952, the wines quickly sold out. By 1954, every bottle was sold via mailing list with a growing waitlist. Eleanor ran the business while Fred made the wine, developing Stony Hill’s signature restrained style and minimalist approach. Upon Fred’s death in 1977, his assistant and protégé, Mike Chelini, continued Stony Hill’s winemaking tradition for over 40 years. In 1991, the McCrea’s son Peter and daughter-in-law Willinda assumed day-to-day management of the winery – and in 2011, their daughter Sarah joined the business making it a third generation family-operated business. In 2018, Napa Valley legend Ted Hall and his family acquired Stony Hill Winery.

Stony Hill vineyard lies on a steep slope between Richie Creek to the north and Mill Creek to the south with an elevation between 800 and 1,550 feet – making it an ideal location for growing grapes. The bright, mineral backbone of the wines is a credit to the volcanic mountain soils and, far beneath the surface, limestone rock. Over the decades, the winery’s dedication to the preservation of older vines and restrained winemaking techniques deliver Stony Hill’s distinctive sense of place.

As the new custodians of this storied property, Lawrence and McCoy, alongside winemaker Jaimee Motley, will continue the tradition of producing elegant, cellar-worthy wines.

Born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Motley was raised in her family’s restaurant.  After graduating from the University of Maryland, she moved to San Francisco to pursue graduate school for painting, but in the end reverted back to her hospitality roots. She fell back into the restaurant industry working at Locanda and under famed sommelier Rajat Parr at RN74, where her passion for wine was officially ignited.

From there, Jamiee focused on building her education in every facet of the business, by working in the cellar and vineyard in both the northern and southern hemispheres. She spent her last pennies traveling to Europe to walk vineyards and speak with winemakers and viticulturalists at estates with coveted histories. In 2015 following her studies, Jamiee accepted an assistant winemaker position at Pax Wine Cellars. In the years following, the owners of Pax Wine Cellars, Pax and Pam Mahle, graciously created a space at their winery for small brands to blossom, leading Jamiee to launch her namesake range, Jamiee Motley Wines. 

“Stony Hill Vineyard has held a special place in my heart since my initial visit to the winery in 2011 after the harvest. As you drive up the winding road to the estate, you can sense the power of this mountain top vineyard. The estate feels as if there are ten different clos within the property – and each of those parcels has the ability to present us a looking glass into the history of California terroir and the future of transparent winegrowing,” says Motley. “I look forward to maintaining a deep reverence with the land, honoring the past, and embracing the future of Stony Hill,” she continues.

Stony Hill Vineyard was represented by the Demeter Group in this transaction and the Lawrence Family was represented by Reidy Law Group in St. Helena, CA.

About Stony Hill Vineyard

Stony Hill Vineyard is a historic family-owned Napa Valley winery founded in 1952. The winery is known for its highly acclaimed cellar-worthy wines sourced from their high-elevation Spring Mountain estate. Stony Hill wines are made in the heritage style, producing wines of great purity and elegance. For more information on Stony Hill Vineyard, please visit www.stonyhillvineyard.com/.

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