Four weeks ago, in my Review Bog posting of 29 December, 2017, "Looking Ahead to 2018," I predicted that more wine industry acquisitions would be taking place in the coming year. Since then, halfway through the first month of the year, four major deals have already been made. Here they are.
Tamarack Cellars has been sold to Vintage Wine Estates of California whose portfolio includes Clos Pegase, Cosentino, Viansa Snonoma and other properties. This sale caps a 25 year career in the wine industry for Ron Coleman who started his winery with his wife in the Walla Walla Airport District. Personnel will be retained. The sale includes inventory and wine grower contracts. The deal was put together by Metis, an Exvere Company, advising business mergers and recapitalizations, focusing on wine, beverage and hospitality industries.
Also brokered by Metis is the acquisition of the Red Lion Inn in Walla Walla by Columbia Hospitality, another California company. The Red Lion will be renovated this year into an upscale lodging facility, to reopen in 2019 that will cater to the burgeoning wine tourism clientele.
Another major deal is the Weidert Property near Nine Mile Hill west of Walla Walla which was put up for sale last fall by an Indiana owner. Te 6000 plus acre property was auctioned off and the winning bid was from Farmland LP which owns properties in Oregon's Willamette Valley and Northern California, specializing in agricultural sustainability. The Nine Mile property will be put to diverse crops, including grape vines.
Still another deal is the purchase of Jon and Amy Meuret's Maison Bleue Winery in Walla Walla by Willamette Valley Vineyards. Jon has already been making wines for Willamette Valley's Pambrun Wines. Meuret stated, "When they offered a solution to allow me to focus more on vineyards and winemaking, and the opportunity for Maison Bleue to have an estate vineyard in the Rocks, it brought to life ideas I've wanted to pursue for years."
All these acquisitions are indications that Washington State wineries and vineyards are promising avenues for expansion by investors to the south of the state. More later!
Next Week: The February issue of the Review of Washington Wines goes on line Thursday, January 25. For a preview, see last week's Blog below. Also on line will be a Blog posting about the latest varietal wine trends.