December 1, 2013 in Region

Oregon wines, vineyards get sales boost from global buyers

Associated Press
 

PORTLAND – The pace of transactions for Oregon wineries and land in wine country is picking up significantly, and it’s being helped along by capital infusion from California, France and Washington state.

A number of factors, from relatively cheap land prices to availability of water, are driving the trend, the Oregonian reported.

“The pace of transactions has picked up dramatically this year,” said Chris Hermann, who founded Portland law firm Stoel Rives’ Winery and Vineyard Management group. “It’s like watching the stock market right now.”

Oregon, which makes only about 1 percent of the wine California does annually, has seen purchases by the major California firm Jackson Family Wines, Seattle’s Precept Wine and France’s Maison Louis Jadot.

“Oregon has earned a reputation for producing some of the highest-quality pinot noir available today,” Caroline Shaw, Jackson’s spokeswoman, said in an email. “It’s exciting to see the spotlight focused on this very deserving region.”

Through August, Oregon recorded an increase of nearly 6 percent in volume sold. California wine, by comparison, saw an increase of only 1.4 percent.

Also indicative: Oregon wine sold for an average of $15.32 per bottle compared with California’s retail price of $6.13.

“15.32 per bottle?” said Steve Thomson, executive vice president at King Estate Winery, one of Oregon’s biggest wineries. “No one else is even close to that. We’re stealing dollars from California and, obviously, they are noticing.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the best days for Oregon are certainly ahead of us,” said Sam Tannahill, a principal at A to Z Wineworks in Dundee.

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