Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
04.17.2014  
 

Northwest Vineyard Deals Reflect Rebound

Wineries and investment groups lead charge to scoop up properties in Oregon, Washington

 
by Peter Mitham
 
 
“northwest
 
Property deals secured in 2014, as compiled by Wines & Vines.
Pasco, Wash.—The unprecedented wave of investment in Northwest vineyards and wineries in the past 18 months has been greeted by many as a vote of confidence in the region’s wine industry. (Click here to see our full list.)

Washington state emerged as the leader in the latest round of transactions, with British Columbia’s Aquilini Investment Group adding 694 acres in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA to its holdings on the heels of 670 acres it acquired on Red Mountain from the Kennewick Irrigation District in November. Days later, Allan Bros. of Naches, Wash., paid an undisclosed sum to acquire Sagemoor Vineyards, which farms 883 acres of vineyards and 420 acres of tree fruits.

“I think if the industry had been doing poorly they probably wouldn’t have been looking at it,” said Kent Waliser, general manager of Sagemoor, noting that Allan Bros. did its due diligence regarding the vineyard’s contracts, customers and overall business model. “They liked how that looked, and they believe there’s a strong future in the wine industry.”

Allan Bros.’ desire to grow wine grapes mirrors diversification by other tree fruit growers including Zirkle Fruit Co. and Wyckoff Farms Inc. Its own acreage will give Sagemoor room to expand, while Sagemoor’s orchard acreage will also benefit Allan Bros. “They have a land base with some land that’s not planted to anything, and we’re going to start the process of strategically looking at where that land is and what it could grow best,” Waliser said.

The deal also addressed a long-standing need to resolve succession issues within Sagemoor.

Originally established by Alec Bayless and Winslow Wright in 1968 as a limited partnership, Wright is now 95 years old and Bayless’ interest is held by his widow, who is in her late 80s. The death of either partner could have led to the breakup of the company, something the sale to Allan Bros. avoids while ensuring a return to the 70 partners with a stake in the company. “Maybe in retrospect it will look like it was a great time to sell, but they weren’t trying to pick the market or pick the timing,” Waliser said.

Market rebounding from recession
However, the sale comes at a time when plenty of properties have come to market seeking buyers, five years after the recession halted deals for many of the same properties.

Aquilini’s purchase of 694 acres in the Horse Heaven Hills gave it the Aldercreek and Windy Ridge properties, which were originally offered to the market in November 2008. A lack of financing prevented any offers from going firm, but the properties were brought back to the market on account of the strong interest in the Kennewick Irrigation District’s offering in November. Aquilini, which emerged the winner then, succeeded with a bid of $6.9 million in the latest deal, which is set to close by May 9.

Similarly, Atlas Vineyard Management Inc.’s purchase of 683 acres at the Cooper Creek and Fern Creek properties concluded efforts to sell properties formerly held by the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and Connecticut investment firm CommonFund, and managed by Premier Pacific Vineyards Inc.

“The entire CalPERS strategy was to buy, develop and sell,” explained Barry Belli, CEO of Atlas and former financial operations director for Premier Pacific. “It was originally supposed to be just a five-year hold, and it turned out to be a nine, 11-year (hold).”

CommonFund began partnering with Cal­PERS in 2007, but financial difficulties in 2009 forced its vineyard ventures into receivership. An opportunity to sell came in 2012, when buyers returned to real estate markets and property values rebounded.

The valuation of CalPERS’ portfolio of vineyards tells the story: The aggregate market value of the properties rose to $171 million in June 2008 before bottoming out at $105.1 million in June 2010. Two years later, the aggregate market value of its holdings was $206 million.

Sales began, and many observers see no end to buyer appetite so long as properties are available and wine sales remain robust. “When you compare the land prices to Napa and Sonoma, there’s no comparison, and when you compare the quality, it’s comparable,” Belli said. “If you can get nice wines out of a lower cost property, then you should go for it.”

 

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
July 2015 $603 million
6%
$8,136 million
6%
July 2014 $568 million $7,701 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
July 2015 $66 million
9%
$1,906 million
14%
July 2014 $61 million $1,674 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
July 2015 323
4%
262
18%
July 2014 312 222
     
 
MORE » Released on 08.13.2015
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • September 6
     
    Harvest Wine Celebration
     
  • September 11-13
     
    Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic
     
  • September 17
     
    Winejobs.com Summit
     
  • September 18
     
    Owning and Operating an Urban Winery or Brewery
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Nielsen Unpacks Package Design »
 
Okay, I'll state the obvious (to anyone with CPG experience) - the Wine Biz is...
Reader: Joel Miller
 
Article: Nielsen Unpacks Package Design »
 
Very interesting reading. Certainly agree with the more indirect approach of evaluating the extent to...
Reader: Roger Brooks
 
Article: Experimental Solution to Pierce's Disease »
 
Congratulations to the team! It is amazing what can be done with biological controls. Keep...
Reader: Bruce Coulthard
 
Article: The Spiciest Wines You Have Ever Tasted »
 
There are some wines from New Mexico are infused with pepper flavors. Also, The Wine...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Does Red Blotch Affect Wine? »
 
I have a grapevine in my polytunnel in east London which is showing signs of...
Reader: Guest
 
 


2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
   LEARN MORE »
 
   SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Wine Sales Representat...
 Miami, FL
Sales and Marketing
 Financially Driven Sal...
 Remote, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Brand Manager, Califor...
 St. Helena, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Sales Representat...
 Springfield, NJ
Sales and Marketing
 Customer Service Ambas...
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Wine Educator & Hospit...
 Santa Rosa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Wine & Beer Sales Rep
 Dallas, TX
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Full Time Retail Wine ...
 New York, NY
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Financial Analyst
 St. Helena, CA
Finance
 Wine Sales Representat...
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.