Oregon wine country at center of global land grab

PORTLAND, Ore. — The pace of transactions for Oregon wineries and land in wine country is picking up significantly, and it’s being helped along by capital infusion from California, France and Washington state.

A number of factors, from relatively cheap land prices to availability of water, are driving the trend, The Oregonian reported.

“The pace of transactions has picked up dramatically this year,” said Chris Hermann, who founded Portland law firm Stoel Rives’ Winery and Vineyard Management group. “It’s like watching the stock market right now.”

Oregon, which makes only about one percent of the wine California does annually, has seen purchases by the major California firm Jackson Family Wines, Seattle’s Precept Wine and France’s Maison Louis Jadot.

“Oregon has earned a reputation for producing some of the highest-quality pinot noir available today,” Caroline Shaw, Jackson’s spokeswoman, in an email. “It’s exciting to see the spotlight focused on this very deserving region.”

Through August, Oregon recorded an increase of nearly six percent in volume sold. California wine, by comparison, saw an increase of only 1.4 percent.

Also indicative: Oregon wine sold for an average of $15.32 per bottle compared with California’s retail price of $6.13.

“15.32 per bottle?” said Steve Thomson, executive vice president at King Estate Winery, one of Oregon’s biggest wineries. “No one else is even close to that. We’re stealing dollars from California and, obviously, they are noticing.”

Smaller producers could find themselves struggling to get access to grapes as big money locks up long-term vineyard contracts.

“As a small winery, I’d be concerned about sources,” said Laurent Montalieu, sold his Solena Estate to the Jacksons, then bought more than 300 acres of vineyard land this year. “The only way to secure your grape sources is to own them.”

But any vineyard shortage will likely translate into increased demand.

“The point is that the consistently high level of our wines here has made really important outside companies sit up and take notice,” said Sam Tannahill, a principal at A to Z Wineworks in Dundee. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the best days for Oregon are certainly ahead of us.”

More in Local News

Turkey talk: Kindergartners explain the Thanksgiving holiday

Our annual pilgrimage led us this year to Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Everett.

Police locate suspect in Snohomish River after he fled

They used a thermal-imaging camera to locate the man in the water near Dagmars Marina.

Electrical fire on roof of Marysville school extinguished

There was no apparent structural damage to Cascade Elementary School.

As police closed in, 2 heavily armed pot-shop robbers fled

Cops surrounded the place in Mountlake Terrace. The suspects were tracked by dogs and apprehended nearby.

Hiker rescued on Boulder River trail after 15-foot fall

She was reported to have possible leg and rib fractures.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

Front Porch

EVENTS Holiday lights parade in Monroe Monroe will host a Holiday Lights… Continue reading

Snohomish County Council passes a no-new-taxes budget

The spending plan still funds the hiring of five new sheriff’s deputies and a code enforcement officer.

Most Read