Why Jackson Family Wines Bought Land In Walla Walla Valley

Jackson Family Wines, a family-owned wine company founded in 1982, has announced the purchase of 61 acres of an existing 117-acre property located in Mill Creek in the eastern region of Washington’s Walla Walla Valley.

Jackson Family Wines purchased the property, of which 40 acres are planted to vine, from Abeja, an artisan Walla Walla Winery and iconic Inn founded in 2001. Abeja, who originally developed and planted the site in 2016, will retain ownership of 56 unplanted acres and will plant new vines there next year. Jackson Family Wines and Abeja will jointly announce a name for the vineyard at a later date.

This is the first acquisition in Washington for the Jackson family and complements the company’s existing holdings in the Pacific Northwest, namely in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Over the next several years the family plans to develop a Washington-based operation. Wines produced from the vineyard will be made by winemaker Chris Carpenter and his team as part of a new brand currently under development.

“We know Walla Walla Valley is an exceptional region in North America for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, and this particular site in Mill Creek possesses ideal conditions in terms of soils, elevation and climate,” says Christopher Jackson, second-generation proprietor of Jackson Family Wines. “We are thrilled by the opportunity to join an esteemed group of vintners in the Walla Walla Valley who have proven the incredible potential for wines from this region. Much like our previous ventures into great winegrowing regions like Willamette Valley in Oregon, Stellenbosch in South Africa, and McLaren Vale in Australia, we are humbled to be among an elite class of wineries and look forward to integrating ourselves into the community even more and producing wines of the highest caliber.”

Carpenter will oversee all winemaking and viticulture and Jackson Family Wines will assume all aspects of farming operations of the 61-acre property. Carpenter began his career in Napa Valley in 1995 and has built a reputation for producing highly-sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon from high-elevation vineyards. This includes Cardinale and Lokoya in Napa Valley and Hickinbotham in McLaren Vale, Australia. Carpenter will be supported by winemaker Gianna Ghilarducci and vineyard manager Rafael Jimenez.

“We ventured into Washington in 2021, buying grapes from select vineyards throughout the Walla Walla Valley which gave us a great sense of the opportunity and quality. Many community members have offered their knowledge, wisdom, guidance, and support” says Carpenter. “This includes Abeja, who have been exceptional winemakers and stewards of the vineyard we acquired in Mill Creek, as well as noteworthy producers such as Doubleback and Figgins/Leonetti. My team and I couldn’t be more excited about the quality we are seeing in the vineyard, the wines, and also our future in the region.” Daniel Wampfler and Amy Alvarez-Wampfler lead Abeja’s winemaking team. Abeja will continue to source grapes from the newly held Jackson Family Wines vineyard while further investing in its existing Walla Walla vineyards. “We have a common goal to continue to enhance awareness and regard for this incredible site while expanding our own estate portfolio,” says Wampfler. “Estate wines have been a cornerstone of our winemaking since Abeja’s founding. Together with Jackson Family Wines and other neighboring wineries, we look forward to continuing to reaffirm Walla Walla Valley’s reputation as a world-class wine grape growing region.”

About the Vineyard

Jackson Family Wines’ newly acquired 61-acre property, part of a 117-acre site, is located in the Mill Creek area of Walla Walla Valley, home to many of the region’s top vineyards. Planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon with additional plantings of Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, the vineyard comprises 40 total planted acres and sits at roughly 1,500 feet above sea level. The site’s Aeolian soils and the unique climate of Walla Walla Valley present ideal conditions for growing Bordeaux varieties.

About Jackson Family Wines

Jackson Family Wines is a family-owned, vineyard-based company with a penchant for exploration. Founder Jess Jackson placed his faith in farming and a meticulous expression of wine with his first landscape-changing vintage in 1982, an ethos that chairman Barbara Banke and the Jackson family continue to uphold to this day. The Jackson family’s collection of 40 wineries spans significant winegrowing regions, from California, Oregon, Washington, France and Italy in the northern hemisphere, to Australia, Chile and South Africa in the southern half of the globe. Vineyard ownership and sustainable practices remain key to consistent quality and artisan winemaking is built to scale, underscoring a steadfast commitment to making wines of character and integrity. For more information, visit https://www.jacksonfamilywines.com/

About Abeja

Located in the rolling foothills of the Blue Mountains just minutes from downtown Walla Walla, Abeja’s carefully restored century-old farmstead provides a pristine setting for the pursuit of world-class winemaking, grape growing, hospitality and distinctive guest accommodations.

The winery was founded on the belief that estate-grown fruit differentiates wines and strengthens a vintner’s ability to offer a consistent style, unique character, and exceptional quality. Abeja’s Walla Walla Valley vineyards: Heather Hill, planted in 2002; Mill Creek surrounding the winery and planted in the late 1990s; and the east Mill Creek vineyard, planted in 2016, have proven this philosophy. More information is available at abeja.net.

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