Crimson Wine Group has snatched up another West Coast winery, this time paying $5.75 million for Washington state pioneer Seven Hills Winery. The sale, pending the approval of regulators, includes the brand, inventory and winemaking equipment. General manager and winemaker Casey McClellan and his wife, Vicky, who cofounded the winery in 1988, will continue in their roles at the Walla Walla winery, which specializes in Merlot and Bordeaux-style red blends.
After nearly 30 years in winemaking, McClellan said he and Vicky were looking for a partner that would help the winery grow. “It was critical to our family to transition Seven Hills Winery into the right hands,” McClellan told Wine Spectator. “I think this is a great fit.”
No vineyards were involved in the sale, though Crimson president Patrick DeLong said the company plans to maintain McClellan’s long-term agreements with local growers. “We’re very impressed by Casey’s history here,” said DeLong. The McClellans retain ownership of the 20-acre McClellan Estate Vineyard.
Crimson Wine Group is a Napa-based holding company that has bought a number of properties in recent years. It has typically constructed deals so that the original owners stay involved after the sale.
Crimson owns or manages more than 895 acres of vineyards in California, Oregon and Washington. Its winery portfolio includes Sonoma Zinfandel star Seghesio, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon house Pine Ridge and Pinot Noir producers Archery Summit in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Chamisal in California’s Central Coast.
Seven Hills, DeLong said, was a good match for Crimson because of the potential of the Walla Walla region and the winery’s success with Merlot, a varietal that is underrepresented in the company’s portfolio.
McClellan is a fourth-generation farmer whose family has been working the land in Eastern Washington for almost 100 years. He planted Seven Hills Vineyard with his father in 1982. Since 2000, the McClellans leased a historic building in downtown Walla Walla for a production facility and tasting room.