Rex Hill Winery and Goldschmidt Vineyard Sold
by Christina Kelly, Avalon Editor/Writer, November 7, 2006
Goldschmidt Vineyard was sold in 2006 and is now called WInderlea VIneyard. Neil Goldschmidt has no relationship with the vineyard or winery.
A to Z Winery, a small 2,500 case winery that grew to 100,000 cases this year, has purchased Rex Hill Vineyards, making it one of the largest wineries in the state.
Founded in 2002, A to Z Winery has catapulted like a rocket to the top of the wine-producing heap, despite the fact that the wine label has no permanent physical location. Bill Hatcher, who brought an extensive background in strategy and finance to the winery, created brand loyalty by pricing easy-to-drink Oregon Pinot Noir under $20.
The winery did not own any vineyards - Hatcher and his partners Sam Tannahill and Cheryl Francis secured contracts from numerous Oregon vineyards, keeping the identities of those vineyards a "professional secret." The name came from the fact that in the beginning, the winery did not know if its grapes would come from Winery A, Winery B or Winery Z as the partners protected the identity of the wineries and vineyards.
Originally, the two couples purchased bulk wine during a wine glut a few years ago. Gradually, as the bulk market dried up, the winery began signing long-term contracts for grapes. A to Z Winery leased facilities from six different wineries, including Rex Hill, to ferment, blend and bottle the wines.
Rex Hill Winery, founded in 1982, is owned by Paul Hart and his wife, Jan Jacobsen. The winery has a second label, King's Ridge, offering Pinot Noir under $20 per bottle. In published reports, Hart indicated the winery was a labor of love, but too much to handle as he eyes retirement.
In other news, the Goldschmidt Vineyard, owned by former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt was sold to an undisclosed California investor. The price of the 17-acre site - one of the oldest vineyards in Oregon - was also not disclosed.
Goldschmidt could not be reached for comment. His vineyard is thought to be one of the best in Oregon, with the fruit highly sought after by winemakers, including Lynn Penner Ash, winemaker for Dusky Goose Pinot Noir. In an earlier northwest-wine.com article, Penner Ash said she thought the Goldschmidt Vineyard was a spectacular site.
"There is an incredible dried cherry quality that is unique to that site," said Penner Ash last year. "The fruit smells like dried cherry tea, and then moves into a ripe red pear mouth feel. It produces a very focused, red-fruited wine that is incredibly rich and sweet."
Dusky Goose has been the estate label for the Goldschmidt Vineyard. The vineyard also supplies fruit to Adelsheim Vineyard, Patricia Green Cellars, R. Stuart and Penner Ash Wine Cellars.
Although details of the pending sale were not disclosed, an insider indicated that no formal plans have been announced and it would take a few weeks to wait and see what the new owner plans to do with the vineyard.