In the latest development in Oregon's burgeoning wine industry, the Great Oregon Wine Company has purchased Duck Pond Cellars, a family-owned winery in the Willamette Valley that is known for Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The deal includes Duck Pond's winery and tasting room in the Dundee Hills subappellation, along with 300 acres of estate vineyards in Oregon. Duck Pond's staff, including winemaker Trevor Chlanda, will remain at the winery. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Doug and Jo Ann Fries founded Duck Pond Cellars after moving their family from California's Central Valley to Oregon in the early 1980s. Longtime farmers and wine enthusiasts, they purchased land along the Willamette River in Dundee and planted a hazelnut orchard as well as a 13-acre vineyard. In 1993, the family launched Duck Pond Cellars, focusing exclusively on Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The family owns and farms six vineyards in Oregon and makes around 50,000 cases of wine a year.
The Great Oregon Wine Company had been purchasing grapes on and off from the Fries family and decided to acquire Duck Pond because of the quality of its estate vineyards. It was also running out of space at its winery. "Their vineyards are so precise and pristine," said Ari Walker, CEO of Integrated Beverage Group, Great Oregon Wine Company's parent company. "[The Fries'] are just in a league of their own."
The Duck Pond sale includes three estate vineyards in the Willamette and Umpqua valleys. Its facility in the Dundee Hills will help increase the Great Oregon Wine Company's production capacity to more than 300,000 cases of wine a year, making it a sizable player in Oregon.
The Fries family will no longer be involved in the winery following the transition. "With their extensive experience in Oregon, we're confident that Great Oregon Wine Company will carry on Duck Pond Cellars' legacy of quality," said Greg Fries, president of the Fries family enterprises, in a statement.
The family will continue to make wines at their Desert Wind winery in Washington State. Founded in 2001, the winery works with a range of grapes including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from three estate vineyards in the Wahluke Slope appellation. They also own a tasting room and inn in Prosser, Wash.
Founded in 2015, Denver, Colo.–based Integrated Beverage Group has a portfolio of nearly a dozen different brands in California and Oregon including Replica, Rascal, Chime and Swing Set. That same year, it purchased the former Stone Wolf Vineyards in McMinnville, Ore., and changed the name to the Great Oregon Wine Company.
The company plans to invest in Duck Pond's winemaking facility and will grow the wholesale distribution and consumer side of the business. It's also looking for more opportunities in Oregon. "I think that's the place that we'll likely continue to place our bets," said Walker.
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