“O’Reilly Expands into Washington
with More Vineyards, New Winery”
Owen Roe’s Winemaker Discovers Yakima Valley’s Hidden Gems Via Tiny VineyardsBy Christina Kelly
(Page 3 of 4)
More Plans on the Horizon
O’Reilly is so convinced the undiscovered Yakima Valley will continue to yield beautiful fruit in the future, he is peering into the crystal ball of winemaking and planning on the philosophy of “if you build it, they will come.”
Once Cream Winery is cleaned up and made “greener,” construction will take place to preserve the dairy atmosphere and remove unwanted and unsafe buildings. O’Reilly wants an organic winery, a sustainable facility, a tasting room and an interactive tour of the facility so consumers can see how wine is made with a light carbon footprint. The hope, of course, is once the winery comes together, other business leaders in the region will join in to help make Sunnyside a destination site, with restaurants, lodging and activities.
“I don’t need a showy Chateau to convince everyone about my wine,” O’Reilly said. “The wines will speak for themselves. The grapes will shine through. The terroir will be expressed in the glass.”
At his new vineyard, Rattlesnake Hills, O’Reilly inherited 12 acres of four different varieties of cherries. He plans to farm them organically for sale and can see products from the fruit. A talented chef who does most of the cooking for his family (and freezes meals when he is traveling in different markets across the country), O’Reilly said his wish lists include making organic cheeses.
O’Reilly sees the big picture in front of him, and has the patience to make the right decisions along the way, wait for the right timing and above all, spend the money to get the quality that he knows will pay off in the long run.
“I don’t know when he sleeps,” joked his assistant Matt Rice. “He is always on an even keel and optimistic. He is a unique guy.”
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Irrigated vineyard contrasts with high desert in central Washington