“It was a pleasure dealing with Erik and his team at Metis. They were professional and responsive every step of the way. Metis is wired into the community of buyers and that made us feel very comfortable that we would be able to attract the right buyer. They ran an excellent process. We are delighted that our friend Jesús Martínez Bujanda Mora, purchased the vineyard!”
– Steve Griessel, Owner of Betz Family Winery
Bridgit and Steve Griessel of Betz Family Winery and Holly and Kevin Brown of Siren Song Vineyard Estate and Winery purchased the 40 acre property that would become V2 Vineyard in 2014 and first planted in 2016, the 22 planted acres of vineyard sit at 990-1230 feet of elevation and consist of 15.9 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.50 acres of Merlot, 2.40 acres of Petit Verdot and just under 1 acre of Cabernet Franc in the most proven area of the Walla Walla Valley, within the esteemed SeVein vineyard development. North Slope Management meticulously developed, planted, and farmed the vineyard, under the direction of General Manager Sadie Drury.
Upon purchase, the ownership group immediately hired North Slope Management to develop the vineyard. The team spent a year working the land and analyzing the soil to determine the best viticultural development plan unique to the site. Arugula was planted on the bare land to infuse healthy biomass into the soil and to incorporate a natural biofumigant. To ensure optimum vineyard placement within the parcel, Terrior Analytics, a Portland based vineyard consultant assisted with the development of the vineyard. The Vineyard consists of 100% Walla Walla silt loam soils, with a 7-12.5% slope, and a N/NE aspect. V2 Vineyard is in the virtual center of the SeVein development, abutting world-class vineyards such as Leonetti Cellar’s Serra Pedace Vineyard to the south and Willamette Valley Vineyards’ Pambrun Vineyard to the west and North and Master of Wine and Master Sommelier Doug Frost’s new Echolands Vineyard to the east.
While V2 was only in its sixth leaf, it became clear to the Betz and Siren Song teams while the fruit the site was producing was outstanding, it was not consistent with the house style and objectives for their wineries.
While neither owner needed to sell, they approached METIS to see if there would be a winery who appreciated the unique site, valued the development already in place, and understood the quality potential despite its young vine age.
METIS needed to find a buyer who appreciated the style of the wines the site produced and had the strategic resources to build on the Betz Family and Siren Song vision to continue to build V2’s reputation for world class Bordeaux varietals from the Walla Walla Valley AVA.
METIS’ active practice in the Northwest wine market enables unique insight to strategic investors looking for ultra-premium vineyard sites in Walla Walla. 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 Walla Walla AVA and had the reputation and experience to continue the vision set forth between the founding partners and North Slope Management.
While there was a diverse potential buyer pool identified for V2, METIS knew that a unique existing relationship with Valdemar Estates, who had purchased fruit from the site. METIS CEO Erik McLaughlin had coincidentally tasted the Cabernet from V2 from barrel with Valdemar’s owner and winemaker who had each commented that the vineyard had become their favorite site for Cabernet Sauvignon. METIS also knew that Valdemar was actively looking to develop a vineyard portfolio as they were able to identify what they believed to be the best sites. Given the importance the founders placed on finding a buyer who shared their vision for V2 and their unique history together, METIS discretely approached Valdemar Estates to see if they had interest in exploring a transaction with the Griessels and the Browns.
“We were very impressed with this vineyard right away, it naturally gives us higher acid at full ripeness which fits our style very well,” says Jesús Martínez Bujanda Mora, CEO, and fifth generation owner of Valdemar Family. “We love how this site fits perfectly into the style of wines we want to achieve: fresher, balance, longevity. We have worked with fruit from this site for several years and have been delighted to hear people describe our Cabernet from V2 as quite European.”
Winemaker Devyani Gupta recalls, “in 2019 we began working with Clone 4 Cabernet Sauvignon from V2, and despite the young vine age, it was our clear favorite of the vintage. However, even more impressive was the way the young vineyard had navigated the hurdles of the growing season, due to its North-East aspect, elevation, air flow and grade: in the midst of heat events, the vineyard remained cooler than valley floor, and even after the second October frost, the vineyard still had healthy green leaves. For me, I personally enjoy the way the wines from this site challenge your palate during fermentation – they are intense! But with time, patience, and technique, the tannins give way to a fullness and length on the palate that I love, and a frame that is meant for long-term aging.”
Given the familiarity of the parties, METIS focused on helping them quickly and efficiently make their way from negotiating and structuring an offer, through diligence, and to a quick, on-time closing - after the conclusion of the 2022 harvest and prior to the end of the year to optimize tax strategy and smooth operational transition.
Both the Griessels and the Browns were thrilled with the outcome. They had a beautiful vineyard asset that was not being optimized through their programs that they were able to re-home to another winery who appreciated the ideal situation of the site and the style of wines it produced even more than they did. Making it particularly sweet, they were able to pass it along to a family with whom they already had a warm friendship, which the transaction only served to deepen.
Steve Griessel spoke on behalf of the sellers saying, “Since coming to Washington, Jesus and his family have become dear friends and we have enjoyed making wine from this vineyard alongside them. While we developed V2 with intentions for our winery programs, it became clear after several vintages that the fruit was more well suited to Valdemar’s style and vision than our own. We cannot imagine a better steward to be passing the property along to than them.”