Charles Banks Acquires Qupé Winery

Bob Lindquist sells majority share of his Santa Barbara property, known for its Syrahs.

Investor Charles Banks, who owns California wineries including Mayacamas and Sandhi, has taken a majority share in Qupé Winery—an iconic Santa Barbara property known for its Rhône-style varieties. The price of the sale was not disclosed.

Known as one of the original Rhône Rangers of California, Bob Lindquist founded the winery in 1982. His Syrahs, particularly bottlings from the Bien Nacido Vineyard, have been consistently noble and ageable.

Banks, who first exploded on the California wine scene in 2006 when he co-purchased Napa Valley’s famous Screaming Eagle Winery (which he sold in 2009), will add the property to his expanding portfolio. His investment group, Terroir Selections, includes wineries in Burgundy and South Africa. This latest investment, he says, developed more quickly than he imagined.

“Bob [Lindquist] had called Rajat [Parr, Banks’ partner in Sandhi Wines] and expressed some frustration with his current ability to do what he wanted at Qupé, due to capital constraints, and Rajat said he should call me,” says Banks. “So he did, and in a very few conversations, we totally hit it off. I understood what he wanted and what I could do.”

Lindquist will remain on the team as both a winemaker and a partner.

“All we’ll do is provide more support, and I will be a loud voice encouraging Bob to follow his passion and not let the market dictate what he’s doing,” Banks says.

Lindquist told Wine Enthusiast Magazine he considers winemaking the “fun part” of his job, but the business part is an entirely different story.

“The business and marketing is hard, but Charles is great at that. So this comes as a great relief to me,” he says.

Nicholas Miller, an owner of Bien Nacido Vineyard—where Qupé is located—and a friend of both Lindquist and Banks, thinks it’s a match made in heaven.

“[Banks] is committed to the Qupé brand with Bob,” he says. “His absolute commitment is to quality.” Miller also noted that this purchase complements Mayacamas’ Bordeaux approach and Sandhi’s Burgundian focus.

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