May 3, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili
Now that his company has successfully revived the Street Fighter franchise, Capcom CEO Kenzo Tsujimoto looks to revitalize another withering business: high-end California wines. The publisher's chief executive opened Kenzo Estate, a new $100 million winery in Napa, last weekend, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article.
Tsujimoto purchased the 4,000 acre property in 1990 and has built a "state-of-the-art facility" that features two fermenting rooms (one for stainless steel tanks, the other for concrete vats), a cave for aging wine-filled barrels, electronic gates to keep deer from eating up all his grapes, and more.
He's also hired world-renowned chef Thomas Keller to help create the tasting room's menu. The estate is open for tastings every day (by reservation only) and offers several options: four Kenzo wines (1 oz. each) with cheeses for $30 per person, four Kenzo wines (2 oz. each) with charcuterie for $50 per person, and a wine-paired lunch by chef Thomas Keller for $60 per person.
Though the wine industry, especially for bottles priced above $20, seems in decline, the Kenzo Estate is selling its wine for $60 to $75, with higher-priced bottles available, too. Tsujimoto hired other big names to help sell his wine at that price: viticulturalist David Abreu as vineyard manager, and Heidi Barret as a consultant winemaker.
The Capcom CEO says he chose Napa over other wine regions around the world because his company's U.S. headquarters is in San Francisco. He adds that when he retires, he'll spend half his time at the estate.
"I'm not making the wine just to show off, or for status," said Tsujimoto in the interview with The Chronicle. "The wine we can produce from here is comparable or better than French wines. That's why I decided on this place."