Growing up in Hawaii, Bill Price III was known to his surfer buddies as “Billy Three Sticks” — a reference to the Roman numeral that follows his name. It was this playful moniker that inspired the name of the Three Sticks winery.
A vintner and entrepreneur, Bill is the proprietor of Price Family Vineyards & Estates, which includes the ownership and management of iconic Sonoma Coast vineyards including Durell, Gap’s Crown, Walala, Alana, One Sky, and William James Vineyard. His ownership interests include Three Sticks Wines, Kistler Vineyards, Gary Farrell Winery, and Head High.
Bill’s father, who was born in France, introduced him to wine at an early age by giving him thimble-sized tastes mixed into glasses of water, and he often tagged along with this dad on winery visits in Napa and Sonoma wine country.
Born in Los Angeles, he spent his high school years in Hawaii before returning to California to attend Stanford University. After earning his law degree from University of California Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, he embarked on a successful legal career, practicing in Southern California. He also consulted for Boston-based Bain & Company and later joined GE Capital to work for legendary CEO Jack Welch.
In 1992, Bill 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, the company purchased Beringer Vineyards, which was Bill’s official introduction to the wine business.
TPG continued to invest in wineries, including Chateau St. Jean, which sourced grapes from the Durell Vineyard in Sonoma. It was then that Price began to take a more active interest not only in the business side of wine, but also in vineyards. He purchased the Durell Vineyard property in 1998 and launched Three Sticks Wines in 2002.
It did not take long for Bill to realize that he wanted to be in the wine business full time, and in 2007, he sold his share of TPG back to his partners. When Steve Kistler asked Bill to become a partner in his vineyards, his role as a grower expanded.
“I realized I’d made all the money I needed to make in my career,” Bill says, “and I longed to return to something that brought me back in touch with the natural world on a more regular basis. Now we own six beautiful Sonoma Coast vineyards.”
Bill is also an active philanthropist. As a Trustee of the Gladstone Institute, a distinguished biomedical research organization dedicated to discovering cures for some of humanity’s most deadly cardiovascular, viral and neurological ailments. He is also Chairman Emeritus of and continues to serve on the board of Common Sense Media, which strives to make media and technology safer, healthier and more equitable for kids
and families. Recently, he has assumed a position on the board of Punahou School, which holds a special place in his heart as it is also his alma mater. Additionally, his daughter Alana, is currently enrolled as a student at the school, further deepening his connection to the school.
Ultimately, Bill views his family vineyards and winery investments as something he can someday share with his children. All three of his children Natalie, James and Alana and his wife Eva Marie have wines named after them and are regularly involved in the family business. Bill looks forward to working with them in the business in the years to come.