Rioja winery invests in Washington State

Rioja producer Valdemar has opened a new winery in Walla Walla, Washington State, making it the first foreign-owned winery in the region.

There are several projects in Washington State between European and local partners, such as Marchesi Antinori and Chateau Ste Michelle’s ‘Col Solare’ collaboration, but Valdemar’s new winery is the first solo investment by a European business.

Jesus Martinez Bujanda Mora, Valdemar’s owner, said: “Our family has been growing grapes and making wine in Rioja for 130 years. We were looking for a unique region to develop a new project and I knew about Washington State’s potential due to my studies in Seattle. I brought my family here and we all fell in love with Washington State. This is a unique place with amazing vineyards and wines but also with an amazing community that has welcomed us with open arms since day one. We are truly grateful and honoured to be part of the next chapter of Washington State wine.”

Based in Walla Walla, Valdemar Estates, is described as a “boutique” winery and “as is the case in Rioja, we are searching for and acquiring plots and estates that stand out for their attributes to produce prestigious wines”. As well as acquiring plots, the family has also planted Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache.

The first exports from the estate are slated for next year and the UK is apparently earmarked as a priority market, with distribution through Berkmanns.

Steve Warner, president of Washington State Wine, said: “The Valdemar investment follows a series of overseas interest and involvement, which has played a great role of our story.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Valdemar to Washington, and anticipate their arrival will attract even more national and international interest in the years ahead. Washington is a playground full of different possibilities and we look forward to working with all of our wineries to develop more global connections for our state.”

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