“We chose to work with Metis because they were the best equipped and positioned firm to handle our vineyard transaction. They were thorough and professional throughout the successful process. Ultimately, buyer and seller walked away pleased with a win/win transaction.”
Kevin and Carla Chambers, Owners and founders of Koosah Farm
Kevin and Carla Chambers purchased the property that would become Koosah Farm, in 2013 after selling their famed vineyard, Résonance. What was once an 80-acre Christmas tree farm and homesite is now a recently planted 44-acre vineyard of ultra-premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, perched in a “sky island” just shy of the tallest point of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. With breathtaking views of six of the Cascade volcanos and sweeping views of the valley below, the property is distinctive for its high elevation, steep slopes, and volcanic rock soils with a SE facing aspect. The vineyard was meticulously planted in two stages, one planting in 2016 and the other in 2020, and the property is now coming into full productivity.
Kevin Chambers is one of the most well-respected vineyard specialists in Oregon with a true entrepreneurial spirit. Kevin previously owned Oregon Vineyard Supply (“OVS”) as well as Oregon’s largest vineyard management company, Results Partners (“RP”). After nearly 40 years in Oregon Viticulture, Kevin and Carla Chambers created Koosah Farm as their “Magnum Opus”, with extensive attention to detail paid on the site, infrastructure, plant materials, and farming. Koosah Farm is the culmination of Kevin’s storied viticulture career.
Koosah Farm may be a stunning site situated in one of the most desirable AVAs in the Willamette Valley, but its steep slopes, high elevation, and young age, require intense farming practices and an extraordinary commitment to the vision. Moreover, the Chambers built Koosah around a deep commitment to organic and permaculture design concepts that include 3 acres of cider apples, and a diverse “food forest” of beneficial plants and flowers that encourages a healthy microbiome to naturally reduce disease and problem insect pressures. In addition to transforming the property from a conventional Christmas tree farm to a sustainably farmed vineyard and orchard, the Chambers installed extensive infrastructure to support water catchment for irrigation, fire readiness, power generation, and other farm uses.
That challenge was to find a buyer who appreciated the uniqueness of such an experimentally high elevation vineyard, shared the Chambers’ organic and permaculture farming philosophies, had the technical ability to properly farm the site, and saw the immense potential in a young, unproven vineyard. With two homes on the property, the right buyer would also need to find utility in the additional residential structures.
METIS needed to find a buyer who had the capital, expertise, commitment, and strategic resources to build on the Chambers’ vision and legacy to continue to build Koosah’s reputation for world class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
METIS’ active practice in the Western Oregon wine market gives unique insight to strategic investors looking for ultra-premium vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley. METIS developed a diverse pool of prospective buyers comprised of both regional, national, and international strategic operators, financial entities, and entrepreneurs who were looking for vineyard land in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA and had the reputation and farming experience to carry on the Chambers’ work.
While there was a diverse buyer pool identified for Koosah, METIS knew of the Chambers’ existing relationship with Maison Louis Jadot (who purchased Résonance from them in 2013) and also knew that Jadot was actively looking to acquire vineyard land in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Given the importance Kevin and Carla placed on finding a buyer who shared their vision for Koosah Farm and their unique history together, Jadot was discretely approached to see if they had interest in exploring another transaction with the Chambers immediately prior to the property being offered to other parties.
Maison Louis Jadot had already been working with METIS to find a site in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA to expand their vineyard holdings in the Willamette Valley beyond the Yamhill-Carlton and Dundee Hills AVAs. They were particularly interested in sites that were planted with both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Koosah Farm is home to over 26 acres of Chardonnay and almost 18 acres of Pinot Noir. It is uncommon for vineyards to be planted with more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir, and Maison Louis Jadot was excited about the opportunity to expand their Chardonnay offerings as well as Pinot Noir.
After several phone calls and Zoom meetings with Pierre-Henry Gagey (President of Maison Louis Jadot) and a site visit with Rick Bonitati (President of the US winery operations) and Résonance winemaker, Guillaume Large, the Chambers and Maison Louis Jadot once again found themselves aligned in vision and felt that adding Koosah Farm to Jadot’s Oregon vineyard holdings was a sound strategic decision that supported their growth goals. It also proved to be a poetic conclusion to the Chamber’s vineyard development career.
Given the familiarity of the parties, METIS focused on helping them quickly and efficiently make their way from an LOI, through diligence, and ultimately to a quick, on-time closing prior to the end of 2021 to optimize tax strategy in the transaction.
While bittersweet, Kevin and Carla could not be happier with the outcome. They know the site that they poured a lifetime of knowledge and passion into will continue to be farmed with the care and commitment to quality they employed. They are looking forward to watching the reputation of Koosah Farm grow as more wines are produced from the site and as more blocks come into full production. They are also comforted knowing that Résonance plans to continue to work with several of Koosah’s enviable list of winery clients.
Maison Louis Jadot and Résonance are confident in their investment knowing the careful planning and care that was executed from site development to farming. While the Chambers had an existing relationship with Jadot prior to the transaction, Kevin and Carla knew that was only the first step and they were thrilled with the extensive work the METIS team did to appropriately value Koosah Farm, develop exceptional marketing materials, and structure a transaction that was ideal for all parties.