One of Washington’s earliest commercial vineyards has been purchased by one of the state’s oldest apple growing and packing companies, which continues its expansion into the wine grape business.
Allan Brothers announced the purchase of historic Gamache Vineyard, located on the White Bluffs in the Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area, in late January.
The sale includes 180 acres of wine grapes and a 30-acre stone fruit orchard, but not the Gamache Vintners winery. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Brothers Roger and Bob Gamache developed Gamache Vineyard near Basin City, Washington, over 34 years, turning it into one of the state’s premier vineyards.
The vineyard is particularly known for its Riesling, planted in 1983, and 30-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc blocks that have produced noteworthy fruit since the 1980s.
Other varietals grown there include Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Malbec, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Viognier and Roussanne.
Gamache Vineyard will be managed by Sagemoor Vineyards, a subsidiary of Allan Brothers.
“Gamache Vineyard is known for their attention to detail in the vineyard and providing award-winning fruit to over 35 different wineries across Washington, Oregon and Idaho,” Sagemoor Director of Vineyard Operations Kent Waliser said in a statement. “We look forward to integrating our operations and growing with our customers.”
Sagemoor Vineyards is composed of four properties — Sagemoor, Bacchus, Dionysus and Weinbau vineyards — comprising more than 900 acres.
The vineyards sell to over 75 Washington wineries; Gamache and Sagemoor share many of the same customers.
Miles Kohl, CEO at Allan Brothers, said the new vineyard complements the goals established with the purchase of Sagemoor Vineyards nearly two years ago.
“Acquisition of legacy vineyards with the reputation of Gamache Vineyard provide our winery customers premium grapes to grow their brands,” Kohl said.
Bob Gamache retired from the wine industry as a grower last year. Roger Gamache is starting a new endeavor on Washington’s Red Mountain with 5 acres planted in Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
He also will provide viticulture services through his custom business and will continue to serve on the board of directors of the Washington Wine Industry Foundation.
“The viticulture team at Sagemoor Vineyards are top notch, and we couldn’t have asked for a better group to take on the legacy that has been built at Gamache Vineyard for the last 34 years,” Roger Gamache said.
Roger Gamache also remains the managing partner of Gamache Vintners. His daughter Jessica, who joined the winery last year, continues to serve as general manager.
The winery produces about 3,000 cases each year, including its Heritage series honoring vineyards and viticulturists who “truly understand how to make wine in the vineyard,” Roger Gamache told Good Fruit Grower.
Over the years, the winery has sourced grapes from Jim Holmes’ Ciel du Cheval vineyard on Red Mountain and from Paul Champoux’s vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills, as well as the Gamaches’ own vineyard.
Gamache Vintners will continue to source grapes from the vineyards purchased by Sagemoor.
“We remain totally focused on the quality,” Gamache said. “(Sagemoor) was willing to work with us so we can still continue to get our high quality fruit the way we want it harvested and grown for our own label.”
The winery will keep rolling, he said.
“My brother, Bob, and I had a good run, considering we started our partnership in 1982,” he said. “He has time now to spend with the grandkids and do some things he really enjoys. I’m slowing down a little bit, but I’m not going to sit on my laurels.” •
– by Shannon Dininny