Former Chateau Ste Michelle chief Allen Shoup and Agustin Huneeus have joined forces to buy Wallula Vineyard in Washington.
The purchase price was not disclosed, but is believed to be the highest sum ever paid for a contiguous vineyard in Washington State.
The two veterans of the wine industry are part of a group of investors, Premier Vineyard Estates.
It includes Shoup, founder of the Long Shadows group of wineries, Quintessa proprietor Huneeus and Long Shadows CEO Mike Williamson.
They bought the 263ha (650 acres) in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA of Washington State from brothers Bill and Andy Den Hoed and their father Andy Sr.
The Den Hoed family will continue to manage the five-mile-long vineyard, which abuts the Columbia River and climbs 1,000 feet from the riverbank property. They will be minority partners in the investment group.
‘I contracted this vineyard when I was running Ste Michelle knowing that it was a very unique site, and most of (the fruit) is still under contract to them,’ Shoup told decanter.com.
The Long Shadows Vintners have bought Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Wallula, and the Den Hoeds recently planted 67ha (165 acres) of biodynamically-grown Riesling at the behest of Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon in Santa Cruz.
‘We at Long Shadows have been very excited about the potential of everything on the site because of its range of climactic conditions,’ Shoup said, adding that the site is also very resistant to frost and freezing, always a danger in Washington. ‘It is simply an ideal location.’
Shoup said California vintners like Huneeus are beginning to see value in Washington vineyards. ‘Given the success that we’re having combined with the prices of vineyards up here, you’re seeing a lot of interest and activity from California.’
Long Shadows is a group of seven wineries in Washington state, each under the auspices of an internationally-known winemaker. Such partners include Bordeaux-based oenologist Michel Rolland, California-based Philippe Melka, and former Grange winemaker John Duval.
Written by Tim Teichgraeber in San Francisco