Why this Japanese drugmaker bought a Napa Valley winery

In addition to chemotherapies for leukemia and antidepressants for schizophrenia, among other medications, Japanese drug manufacturer Otsuka owns a vineyard in Northern California. The reason? The drugmaker's chairman at the time loved a good Bordeaux, according to STAT News.

Otsuka purchased Ridge Vineyards in 1986, and has since used the vineyard as another source of revenue and a place to entertain prospective business associates for the past 30-plus years.

While the company reportedly declined to comment to STAT as to why it has held on to Ridge Vineyards for the past three decades, officials said the deal to purchase the winery stemmed from negotiations between two pharma executives. Chemist Carl Djerassi, who aided in the creation of the birth control pill, approached Otsuka's then-chairman Akihiko Otsuka during the 1980s about entering into the wine business.

After snagging control of the winery, Otsuka has largely allowed Ridge to run the business as it sees fit, STAT reports. Otsuka's only intervention in the winery comes in the form of Junji Tashiro, president and CEO of the company's America division, who maintains a seat on Ridge's board of directors and attends the winery's quarterly meetings.

Apart from Mr. Tashiro's role, Otsuka expects Ridge to uphold two tenets outlined under the company's initial deal in the 1980s: to keep making good wine and not to lose money, according to the report.

To access the full STAT report, click here.

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