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“Three Sticks” refers to the three Roman numerals that follow Founder and Principal Bill Price’s written name. He was known as “Billy Three Sticks” growing up surfing in Hawaii, where the young Price attended high school. As he describes his path from seawater to wine in a calm, steady voice, it’s hard to guess that this is the same man who spent much of the last 30 years in corporate board rooms. Rather, it seems only natural that Price would trade in a thriving business career for a life among the vines, and that the father of three would wax poetic on the importance of leaving the world a better place for generations to come—whether through sustainable vineyard and winery practices or through his non-profit work.
Price attended high school in Hawaii before returning to California to study at Stanford University. He earned his law degree from the University of California Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, and following 10 years practicing law and also consulting at Bain & Company, he was hired to work for Jack Welch at GE Capital.
In 1992, Price co-founded Texas Pacific Group (TPG), a private equity firm, with two partners. TPG invested in companies as large and diverse as J. Crew, Burger King, Continental Airlines, and Petco. In 1995, TPG purchased Beringer. “That’s when I was really introduced to the wine business,” says Price.
The company continued to invest in wineries, including Chateau St. Jean., which sourced grapes for some of its wines from the Durell Vineyard in Sonoma. It was then that Price began to take a more active interest not just in the business of wine, but in vineyards as well. He purchased the Durell Vineyard in 1998 and launched Three Sticks Wines in 2002. In 2007, he sold his share of TPG back to his partners and entered the wine business full-stop.
Price is the proprietor of Classic Wines, LLC and Price Family Vineyards, LLC—including ownership and management of Sonoma Coast vineyards including Durell, 111 Wilson Vineyard, Dupont Vineyard, One Sky Vineyard, Stoetz Lane Vineyard, Gap’s Crown Vineyard and Walala Vineyard. Classic Wines also has ownership interests in Kistler Vineyards, Three Sticks, and Lutum. Price is chairman of Gary Farrell Winery.
Price is also an active philanthropist, and holds positions as Trustee of the Gladstone Institute, a leading organization in the research and development of solutions to widespread disease; and as a board member of Common Sense Media, which rates, advocates and educates families and schools on media and technology for kids.
Price resides in Marin County with his family and strives to get in at least 30 days of surfing per year.
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