BASIN CITY — Gamache Vineyards, one of Washington’s oldest and most respected vineyards, has new owners.
Allan Brothers of Naches announced this week that it has purchased Gamache Vineyards in Basin City. Allan Brothers, a fourth-generation apple farming family, bought historic Sagemoor Vineyards last year.
Roger and Bob Gamache established Gamache Vineyards in 1982 with their father. Last year, Bob Gamache announced his retirement, and his brother Roger said the sale of their 220-acre farm overlooking the Columbia River helps the family with that transition.
“We needed to move on and get that completed,” Roger Gamache said.
Though his brother is now retired, Roger Gamache has no plans to slow down. Last spring, he planted 5.5 acres of wine grapes on famed Red Mountain in the eastern Yakima Valley. He also manages a juice grape vineyard near Basin City and has a commercial farming operation that includes vineyard pruning and harvesting services.
And he will continue to run his 3,000-case winery, Gamache Vintners, which has a tasting room in the Yakima Valley community of Prosser.
“Nothing changes with the winery,” Gamache said. “We will keep the same grapes. Everything should stay the same.”
Gamache’s wines are made by Charlie Hoppes, owner and winemaker of Fidelitas Wines on Red Mountain, whose 15-acre property is adjacent to Gamache’s new planting. Hoppes said he looks forward to continuing to work with Gamache grapes. He added that he enjoys working with that fruit because the coolness of the Gamache site allows the grapes to ripen more slowly and unveil fascinating varietal characteristics.
Kent Waliser, general manager of Sagemoor Vineyards, is excited about the new acquisition because it adds to the quality and legacy of Sagemoor.
“We’ve been talking about this for quite awhile,” Waliser said. “The Gamaches recognized a year ago that they wanted to make some changes, so this is the logical solution to that.”
Sagemoor was first planted in 1972 along the Columbia River north of Pasco. Today, the farm includes Sagemoor, Bacchus and Dionysus vineyards along the Columbia and Weinbau Vineyard upriver on the Wahluke Slope. Some of Sagemoor’s oldest vines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc that date back to 1972.
Until last year, Sagemoor was owned by a group of investors who came together beginning in the late 1960s. At the time, Washington’s wine industry was minuscule. When the Sagemoor group took the chance to plant hundreds of new acres, it singlehandedly fueled the growth of the Washington wine industry by becoming the state’s first large-scale vineyard.
Today, Sagemoor provides grapes to about 80 wineries, primarily in Washington.
Andy Perdue is a wine journalist, author and judge. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.
From our friends at Great Northwest Wine