Trusted Counsel to the Wine Industry

Chuck Meibeyer: Representative Clients

Over 40 years, Charles (Chuck) Meibeyer has collaborated with countless clients, including individuals needing simple legal help, small business owners or nonprofits, families needing help buying or selling properties ranging from modest, well-loved homes to luxury estates, and numerous wineries, vineyards, restaurants, hotels and entrepreneurs.  Some of those clients required ongoing legal advice on a multitude of matters.  The scope of the kinds of legal work Chuck managed for these clients as “outside general counsel” are described with some detail below. A sampling of other clients over the years are also listed below.

Frank Family Vineyards

Frank Family Vineyards (FFV) became a client in 1993 when Rich Frank and his partner Koerner Rombauer purchased the former Hanns Kornell Winery on Larkmead Lane south of Calistoga.  Chuck helped Rich and Koerner expand the winery’s use permit and acquire additional sources of grapes for production through grape purchase agreements and the purchase of new vineyards.  In 2006, after both of their wineries expanded and thrived, Chuck helped these friends accomplish a transition that allowed Koerner’s winery to obtain a new winery facility and allowed Rich to develop FFV into an award winning winery at the Larkmead location. Chuck further helped FFV acquire a property that offered a new source of highly desirable Rutherford AVA grapes, and a site for a new winery that would allow FFV to expand production to meet increasing demand.  In December of 2021, FFV was purchased by Treasury Wine Company for a reported $315,000,000 in recognition of the winery’s successful management, wine quality and robust marketing success.

Rombauer Vineyards

Rombauer Vineyards was Chuck’s client even before he founded his wine practice in 1989. Chuck helped the Rombauer family with real estate transactions, including the purchase and sale of an additional winery, 1031 exchanges, tentative parcel map approval, negotiation and preparation of vineyard leases, the quadrupling of the size of the winery, and the acquisition of a new winery property and entitlements once again tripling the production capacity of the winery.  Chuck also managed numerous business succession planning, business transaction and entity formation matters for the Rombauer family.

Hall Financial – Hall Winery

Hall Financial and Hall Winery became Chuck’s clients when Craig and Kathryn Hall made their first investment in Napa Valley in 1997.  Chuck helped the Hall organization with numerous real estate transactions, including the purchases of more than 2,000 acres in Napa and Sonoma Counties, the family’s home in Rutherford, the historic Bergfeld Winery that was developed into Hall St. Helena, and a mobile home park. Chuck also managed lot line adjustment and tentative parcel map matters and the negotiation and preparation of vineyard leases for the Hall family.

Culinary Institute of America, Inc.

Culinary Institute of America (the “CIA”) first hired Chuck in 2002 and he helped the CIA on a wide range of land use matters, including the doubling of the capacity of the CIA’s Greystone campus in St. Helena, the acquisition, approval and expansion of 100 dormitory spaces for the CIA’s students on Pratt Avenue in St. Helena, and real estate and land use matters relating to the acquisition of the CIA’s Copia campus in the City of Napa, along with numerous other business and real estate matters.

Castello di Amorosa and V. Sattui Winery

Castello di Amorosa and V. Sattui Winery are sister wineries that are two of the most successful wineries in Napa Valley that focus on Direct to Consumer wine marketing to their customers and wine club members.  Chuck began representing these clients in 1990 and helped these clients with the acquisition of hundreds of acres of land, conservation easement matters, entitlements relating to the opening of Castello di Amorosa, and other real estate, business and land use matters.  Chuck also helped V. Sattui seek and obtain approval for the winery to be allowed to host 80 weddings and wedding receptions per year with a maximum attendance of 250 people per wedding, allowing V. Sattui to become one the very rare wineries not located within the City of St. Helena that can legally conduct weddings in Napa County. In addition, Chuck also helped V. Sattui obtain legal recognition of historic winery activities including a daily visitation level of 2,625 visitors at the winery.

Darioush Winery

Darioush Winery became Chuck’s client when Darioush Khaledi made his first investment in the wine industry, buying the former Altamura Winery in 1997.  Chuck helped Darioush undertake numerous real estate, land use, vineyard lease negotiations and drafting along with grape purchase agreements and other business transactions.  Chuck also helped Darioush purchase another key vineyard property and obtain approval for another affiliated winery that has an expansive marketing plan, along with approval as the only winery in Napa County that is allowed tours and tastings into the evenings, including until 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Staglin Family Vineyard

Staglin Family Vineyards first became a client in 1998. Chuck helped the Staglin family obtain approval for their winery after it had previously been denied, as well as the expansion of the winery into a newly acquired adjacent parcel, together with the acquisition of another prime vineyard property adjacent to the Stalin Vineyard winery, along with other family business and real estate matters.

Other Representative Clients

In addition to these more active, Chuck has represented a wide range of clients in the Napa Valley over the last 40 years.  A limited sampling of those other clients is listed below:

  • Altamura Enterprises
  • Avatar Wine Company
  • Balloons Above the Valley
  • Boys & Girls Club of St. Helena
  • Carneros Hills Wine Company
  • Josh Chandler Construction
  • Charles Krug Winery
  • Chase Family Cellars
  • Chateau Potelle Winery
  • Michael Chiarello
  • Del Dotto Winery
  • Domaine Chandon
  • Eagle Vines Golf Club
  • Frazier Winery
  • Hotel Yountville
  • Howell Mountain Vineyards
  • Napa Cellars Winery
  • Napa Town Center
  • Napa Valley College
  • Napa Valley Conference & Visitors Bureau
  • Napa Valley Opera House
  • Napa Valley Professional Balloon Pilots’ Assn.
  • Pavitt Family Vineyards
  • Don Sebastiani & Sons, Inc.
  • Spring Mountain District Assn.
  • Stonebridge Housing
  • Todd Zapolski
  • Uptown Theater
  • Valley of the Moon Winery
  • Vineyard 7 & 8 Winery
  • Vintner’s Golf Course
  • William Hill Winery