The Californians are coming (to buy vineyards)

This was first published back in 2015. 

Exciting news that Betz Family Winery recently purchased 40 acres of vineyard land in the SeVein project near Seven Hills Vineyard in the Walla Walla AVA. This notable Washington brand joins a prestigious group of wineries including Doubleback, Figgins, JM Cellars, Middleton and others. Read more about the SeVein Vineyards project here. 

While we are preaching to the choir here in Washington, the more riveting news is that California (and others) are taking a long look at other wine-growing regions as the costs of Calfornia vineyard land increase and the ongoing drought continues.

A real estate lodging broker in upstate New York reported that he is seeing interest from California wineries in their wine region. This fall, representatives from a large CA winery group came to look for potential vineyard land in the Walla Walla Valley AVA. Their reaction? Wow, there is a lot of plantable acreage (of course, they were looking at wheat fields, while imagining it with vines.)

Panelists at the 23rd Wine Industry Financial Symposium held in Napa this September, predicted that the Pacific Northwest is on its way to becoming “a hotbed of wine property sales,” reports Paul Franson in his article for Wines & Vines (09/2014).

Interestingly, (moderators) compared Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Walla Walla and Napa, and those from Walla Walla score slightly higher in Wine Spectator ratings but average about half the price.

Other Excerpts:

With both Washington and Oregon seeing new interest in vineyard purchases, Washington has had a greater spread of vineyard prices from low to high compared to Oregon because of greater differences in growing conditions and more diverse planting of varieties.

Even at a high of $75,000 to $80,000 per acre for top Oregon AVAs, and Walla Walla and Red Mountain AVAs, the (PNW) has a long way to go before reaching the prices for top California vineyards.

Recent Washington acquisitions:

2010 Banfi acquired Pacfic Rim Winemakers in Washington

2012 E. & J. Gallo Winery acquired Columbia and Covey Run in Washington

2013 Aquilinia Investment Group acquired Red Mountain AVA land in Washington

2013 Duckhorn Vineyards acquired Longwind Vineyard in Washington

2014 Allan Bros. acquired Sagemoor Vineyards in Washington. 


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