Oregon Wine: Big Business Comes to Oregon

Panther Creek WineryThe big business of Oregon wine: within the last ten days Precept Brands increased their already major investment in Oregon, Bacchus Equity bought Panther Creek Cellars, and Kendall Jackson bought their first domestic vineyards outside of California, just under 400 acres in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

at right, the Panther Creek Cellars winery

Precept Brands just bought 30 acre Yamhela vineyard (read a pdf advertising brochure about the vineyard), located near Shea Vineyard. Precept will expand the vineyard to 120 acres over the next five years. This will increase their current 570 acres of Oregon Vineyards.

Kendall Jackson purchased 392 acres of vineyards in Oregon last week. Zena East, Zena Middle, and Maple Grove Vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA were acquired. We are assuming that the grapes will be trucked to California for processing – no winery information has been released.

The purchase of such a large parcel of vineyards by Kendall Jackson last week was received with mixed reviews – owners of small wineries who don’t have their own vineyards see it as creating upward pricing pressure for grapes. Taking 1500 acres of grapes out of the market is a big deal for Oregon, where two acre vineyards are not uncommon.

In related news, Bacchus Capital Management bought Panther Creek Cellars and hired Tony Rynders (Domaine Serene, Tendril, Revana, Cornerstone, Swiftwater) to head it. I wonder if he’ll continue with his consulting winemaker gigs. Bacchus is also a major investor in Wine By Joe, Joe Dobbe’s group of wineries and labels based in Dundee.

What about Michael Stevenson, Panther Creek’s current winemaker? we love his Stevenson Barrie wines. Turns out the former owner of Panther Creek , Elizabeth Chambers, is starting a new winery with Michael as winemaker. Called Elizabeth Chambers Cellars, they will continue to use the winery in McMinnville but lease the tasting room to Bacchus.

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