WITNESS TREE VINEYARD IN OREGON’S WILLAMETTE VALEY ACQUIRED BY TWO OREGON RESIDENTS
Salem, OR, April 19, 2022 - Matthew Felton and Jay Mason, two longtime Oregon residents have partnered to acquire the 105-acre Witness Tree Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA within the Willamette Valley AVA, 10 miles northeast of Salem, Oregon. METIS served as the exclusive transaction advisor.
Originally planted in 1982, the vineyard underwent a recent thoughtful redevelopment including extensive replanting and implementation of organic farming practices to better realize the full potential of the site. The vineyard is ideally situated with predominantly east facing orientation, elevation up to 600+ feet, and varying ideal soil types including an abundance of jory and nekia basalt-based soils at the mid and upper slopes. Witness Tree’s namesake is a 250-year-old white oak that was used as a surveyor’s landmark in 1854 “bearing witness” to the northeast corner of the property. Witness Tree embodies the essence of world class terroir, with a total of 58 acres of planted pinot noir, chardonnay, and aligoté vines in the immediate proximity of some of the top vineyards in Oregon. The property was once home to the well-regarded Witness Tree Winery and includes two wine-making production facilities and several residential buildings.
While Jay Mason and Matt Felton are both prominent real estate investors/operators, the duo share a common passion for wine and believe whole heartedly in the bright future of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Mason commented, “While we love the style of old-world wines which aspire to naturally express the terroir in the glass, we could not be more excited about the potential to own a world class vineyard, right in our back yard, capable of producing the very best expression of Eola-Amity Hills' uniquely special soils, minerals and earth.”
“This was a very special project for us as a firm,” commented Erik McLaughlin, CEO of METIS. “We knew the incredible investment the seller had made to redevelop this word-class site. We are thrilled Jay Mason and Matt Felton share our client’s vision of making Witness Tree one of the most special vineyards in the region and are glad to have assisted in the continuing legacy of this historic vineyard.”
Felton and Mason plan to continue farming the vineyard organically, with the intention to launch a boutique wine making project which will utilize the very best of the vineyard’s blocks in order to bottle a small quantity of terroir driven chardonnay and pinot noir. Apart from their own project, Mason and Felton plan to sell the majority of the vineyard’s fruit to a small group of esteemed producers who share their vision to bottle wines of the highest quality and express the integrity of the place. With two winery buildings on-site capable of extensive wine production, Mason and Felton hope to attract a winemaker who finds utility in the winery, or perhaps launch a custom crush facility on-site. “Owning best-in-class vineyard land close to home is a dream come true! The opportunity to start a wine project is exciting, and one which will hopefully prove to be a legacy for our families,” concluded Felton.
About Jay Mason and Matt Felton
Messieurs Mason and Felton are both active supporters of the Oregon community, volunteering time, resources, and board positions with several locally based non-profits such as the Classic Wines Foundation, the Portland Art Museum, and Portland Tennis & Education
METIS is the premier mergers and acquisitions advisory firm in the Pacific Northwest focused on the global adult beverage and hospitality industries. METIS has been advising privately held businesses on capital transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and recapitalizations for over 30 years. For more information about METIS, please visit www.metisnw.com.