Fruit of the Vine

The hot play in wine isn't bottles. It's vineyards. The risk: How many Cabernet grapes will we need?

Thomas Broening for TIME

Portrait of Dick Wollack (from left) and William Hill, co-chief executives of Premier Pacific Vineyards in Napa, California.

Like a lot of people, William Hill and Dick Wollack got caught up in the real estate frenzy. But you won't find them anywhere near a Las Vegas condo. Instead, their company, Premier Pacific Vineyards, has been snapping up land in prime wine-growing areas of California, Oregon and Washington since 2002. Hill and Wollack are developing vineyards that produce high-end grapes used in premium wines. The play? Bundle their vineyards into a real estate investment trust (REIT), and take it public.

It seems counterintuitive, what with France, Italy, Spain and Australia suffering wine gluts over the past few years and the...

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