Foley forming Food & Wine Society
Fidelity National Financial Inc. Chairman Bill Foley plans to launch “The Foley Food & Wine Society” to offer members-only access to wineries, restaurants and other destinations in the U.S. and Zealand.
Foley brought Fidelity National Financial’s headquarters to Jacksonville in 2003 and it spun off two public companies — Fidelity National Information Services and Lender Processing Services.
Foley has increasingly immersed himself in the wine industry in California and New Zealand. His Foley Family Wines Collection includes Chalk Hill Estate, Sebastiani Winery, Foley Estate, Three Rivers Winery and several more.
The Wall Street Journal reported about Foley and the society Saturday.
Director Jesse Barter said Wednesday the society would be launched this fall. Barter also is director of hospitality at Foley’s Chalk Hill Estate in California.
Barter’s office provided information describing the society, which has no cost to join.
“Become a member of the Foley Food and Wine Society and receive exclusive access to our world-class collection of wineries, lodging, golf courses, restaurants and luxury lifestyle partners,” it says.
“Our team of experts will provide useful information on wine education, cooking, gardening, and farm to table cuisine, golf, ski, and fitness tips – a wealth of information exclusively for member,” it says.
Members also will receive other offers and discounts at Foley Family and partner properties as well as access to the Foley Food and Wine Exchange, where members can shop online for wines and other items.
Members will be enrolled in the Society Points program and receive 2,500 points upon joining and 1 point for every dollar spent with the society.
Points can be used for tickets to Foley Food and Wine Society events at wineries, restaurants, lodges, dinners and at partner properties around the world as well as discounts off wine and lodging, private reserve tastings, seminars and wine education, and tours, cooking and gardening events, private meals, golf, ski passes and more at society properties.
The Wall Street Journal featured Foley and the imminent debut of the society, described as “a unique club of restaurants, resorts and wine.”
Foley owns wineries in California, the Pacific Northwest and also is “quite bullish on New Zealand,” where he recently bought “a number of wineries and a resort, too,” the Journal said.
What the Journal pointed out as noteworthy is “that Mr. Foley has managed to do all of this with his own money; he has never borrowed more than 25 percent and owns 95 percent of his business.”
The rest is owned by 15 “wine buddies” who invested early on, the Journal reported.
It said Foley Wine Co. is selling almost a million cases a year and that the society would be announced this month.
The Journal reports the society is structured “much like an airline mileage awards program,” in which Foley wine club members receive points for each bottle of Foley wine they buy. The points can be redeemed for meals at Foley-owned restaurants, hotels and resorts all over California, Montana, Washington and New Zealand.”
The foleyfamilywines.com site features information about Foley and the wineries.
A biography page about Foley said he established Foley Family Wines in 1996 with the acquisition of Lincourt Vineyards in Santa Barbara County.
Lincourt stems from the names Lindsay and Courtney, the daughters of Foley and his wife, Carol.
“Lincourt Vineyards quickly established itself as a highly regarded producer of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir,” it says.
Foley went on to found Foley Estates Vineyard and Winery and then bought several more vineyards and wineries. In 2009, he bought the New Zealand Wine Trust, which included 247 acres of vineyards in the heart of Marlborough, production facilities and brands including Vavasour, Goldwater, Clifford Bay and Dashwood.
The site said that in August 2010, Foley added “one of California’s premier Sonoma county properties to the portfolio: Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery,” a 1,236-acre estate with 277 acres of vineyards, a winery, hospitality center, culinary garden, residence, stables, equestrian pavilion, sports fields, fishing and swimming ponds, guest houses and wilderness areas.
The biography includes that Foley, “in addition to being a passionate, adventurous vintner,” is chairman of Fidelity National Financial Inc., a Fortune 500 company that provides title insurance, specialty insurance and claims management services.
Fidelity National Financial’s three primary operating segments include Fidelity National Title Group, Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance Group and Sedgwick CMS, which provides claims and productivity management solutions.
Foley also is vice chairman of Jacksonville-based Fidelity National Information Services.
Fidelity National Financial is mainly a title insurance company but has historically invested excess cash in outside businesses, including some big acquisitions in the restaurant business as well as the Remy automobile-components business.
Fidelity moved its headquarters to Jacksonville in 2003 and since then spun the two companies and might create another.
Foley moved Fidelity’s headquarters from Santa Barbara, Calif., to Jacksonville after its 2003 acquisition of Alltel Corp.’s information services division, which was based along Riverside Avenue. Fidelity moved there and expanded the campus, where its spinoff Fidelity National Information Services and Lender Processing Services companies also are headquartered.
While Foley’s Fortune 500 interests are in Jacksonville, his wine and other interests have focused on Montana and California.
For more information, visit foleyfamiywines.com