Washington’s Betz Family Winery has purchased 40 acres of vineyard land in the Walla Walla Valley—the winery’s first estate vineyard.
“We see this as a natural progression for Betz Family,” says owner Steve Griessel, who purchased the winery with his wife, Bridgit, in 2011. “All of us are going to be surprised 10 years from now at how the industry in Washington has taken off, so we wanted to make sure we were controlling certain key areas of our business.”
Betz Family sources all of its fruit from growers throughout the Columbia Valley via contracts. Starting in 2016, the winery will plant on 24 acres of the new land. The rest will be used by a partner winery. Griessel says that the focus will be on Bordeaux varieties, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon.
“Walla Walla Cabernet is so different from anything else in the state,” Griessel says. “We think it’s going to add a dimension to our wines.”
Griessel says the boutique winery’s annual 5,250-case production will not change.
Betz Family’s estate vineyard will be located in SeVein Vineyards in northern Oregon, an up-and-coming area inside the Walla Walla Valley’s southern border. The 2,700-acre project is a partnership among a number of top Walla Walla Valley producers.
When all of the arable land is planted, it will double the vine acreage in the Walla Walla Valley.
“SeVein is one of those places that impresses onsite, and the wines speak for themselves,” says Chris Figgins, a managing partner at SeVein and president of Figgins Family Wine Estates (Leonetti Cellar, FIGGINS, Toil Oregon).
“All of the vineyards at SeVein are so young, but the quality that is coming off of there already is amazing,” Griessel says.