The winemaking team was impressed by the quality coming out of the region, and it has now pounced on the opportunity to acquire land there. It snapped up 61 acres of an existing 117-acre property in Mill Creek.
A local winery called Abeja, founded by Ken and Ginger Harrison, bought the land back in 2000 in a bid to grow world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. It is famous for hosting The Inn at Abeja, along with producing elegant wines.
Abeja will retain ownership of 56 unplanted acres of the property, and it will begin planting vines there next year. Of the 61 acres that Jackson Family Wines has acquired, 40 acres are already planted to vine. Jackson Family Wines and Abeja will jointly announce a name for the vineyard at an unspecified future date.
‘We know Walla Walla Valley is an exceptional region in North America for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, and this particular site in Mill Creek possesses ideal conditions in terms of soils, elevation and climate,’ said Christopher Jackson, a second generation owner of the family firm.
Jackson Family Wines is most famous for its flagship Kendall-Jackson, but it is actually an umbrella company for more than 40 wineries spread across Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Santa Barbara and Monterey, plus Australia, South Africa, Chile, France and Italy.
The firm already has a presence in the Pacific Northwest, as it owns a vineyard in Oregon’s prestigious Willamette Valley.
‘Much like our previous ventures into great winegrowing regions like Willamette Valley in Oregon, Stellenbosch in South Africa, and McLaren Vale in Australia, we are humbled to be among an elite class of wineries and look forward to integrating ourselves into the community even more and producing wines of the highest caliber,’ said Christopher Jackson.
Winemaker Chris Carpenter will oversee the project in Walla Walla Valley. He began his career in Napa back in 1995, and he has garnered a reputation for producing highly-rated Cabernet from high-elevation vineyards. This includes Cardinale and Lokoya in Napa Valley and Hickinbotham in McLaren Vale, Australia.
‘We ventured into Washington in 2021, buying grapes from select vineyards throughout the Walla Walla Valley which gave us a great sense of the opportunity and quality,’ said Carpenter. ‘Many community members have offered their knowledge, wisdom, guidance, and support. This includes Abeja, who have been exceptional winemakers and stewards of the vineyard we acquired in Mill Creek, as well as noteworthy producers such as Doubleback and Figgins/Leonetti.’