Southwind Vineyard purchased by Sagemoor, private equity firm

Sagemoor Vineyards announced today that it had partnered with a private equity firm to purchase Southwind Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley.

“We’ve been looking for properties that fit our business model and are known to raise exceptional grapes. Southwind certainly fits that and already has pedigree, which was a big attraction,” says Kent Waliser, director of wine and grape sales at Sagemoor.

Southwind is the largest property within SeVein, a 2,700 acre project located on the south side of Walla Walla Valley. The vineyard was established in 2007 and currently has approximately 70 acres planted to grape vines. Walla Walla’s Dusted Valley receives fruit from approximately 30 acres on a long-term agreement.

“For us, if we imagined 100 outcomes, Sagemoor purchasing [Southwind] is about the best we could have come up with,” says Chad Johnson, owner and winegrower at Dusted Valley. “We’ve worked with Sagemoor for years, and for custom farming, they are great.”

Southwind is notable for having sections that reach high up to SeVein’s ridgeline. The area has near constant winds, so much so that a wind farm is nearby.

“That whole hillside is pretty unique,” Johnson says. “Wind is a big part of the terroir. [Southwind] has the thickest skins of any of the sites I’ve worked with, and with that comes everything: flavor, tannin, acid, and a little bit more concentration.”

Other wineries using Southwind fruit include Devison and Oregon’s Domaine Serene. The property includes a "Glass House" used for industry events.

Sagemoor’s holdings have previously included Bacchus and Dionysus vineyards in the proposed White Bluffs appellation and Weinbau Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. Gamache Vineyard in Columbia Valley was added in 2016. This is Sagemoor’s first investment in Walla Walla Valley.

“It broadens our reach and our diversity of what we can plant and grow,” says Waliser, who notes Sagemoor already has 30 clients in the valley sourcing fruit from its other vineyards.

Chris Banek of Banek Winegrower Management currently farms Southwind and will continue to through at least the 2021 vintage, with Sagemoor planning additional plantings in 2022.

To purchase Southwind, Sagemoor partnered with Resource Land Holdings, a private equity firm based in Denver, Colorado. Metis, a Northwest-based mergers and acquisitions advisory firm, worked with both parties on the sale.

Image by Richard Duval. 

Sean P. Sullivan

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