Jackson Family Wines is to buy three vineyard properties in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
The Willamette Valley bathed in autumn light
According to the Wine Spectator, the move on the part of the wine giant is part of a strategy to diversify the company’s lineup of Pinot Noirs, which range from US$23-90, under the La Crema label.
Founded by Jess Jackson, Jackson Family Wines is formed of 35 brands, including Kendall-Jackson and Arrowood in California and Yangarra in Australia.
Willamette Valley winemaker Joe Dobbes has been contracted to produce Oregon Pinot Noir from the 2012 vintage for the La Crema brand.
Dobbes currently produces around 112,000 cases of wine annually for his own brands: Dobbes Family Estate, Wine by Joe, and Jovino.
His winery has the capacity to produce more than 140,000 cases a year.
The late Jess Jackson
“As specialists in cool-climate varieties, we’re focused on exploring the finest growing regions for Pinot Noir and the Willamette Valley has an excellent reputation,” Aimee Sands, senior communications manager for Jackson Family Wines, told the WS.
According to a source close to the deal, two of the properties in are Zena Middle and Zena East, accounting for 66 hectares of the Zena Crown vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, a promising site for Pinot Noir.
The third property is rumoured to be Maple Grove Vineyard, a 265-hectare former Christmas-tree farm southwest of Monmouth.
Some 20 hectares of the property have been trellised but not yet planted with vines, with an additional 121 hectares suitable for planting.
A dozen wineries are preparing to propose a new sub-appellation, tentatively titled Perrydale Hills, in the area west of Salem where Maple Grove Vineyard lies.
Locals have been cautiously optimistic about the Jackson’s arrival in the Willamette Valley, with growers hoping for a spike in demand for grapes and winemakers welcoming the exposure to the region their arrival brings.
Jackson Family Wines has annual revenues of US$500m.
La Crema produces nearly 900,000 cases a year, more than Oregon’s top six producers combined.