Jackson Steps Toward Oregon Winery

New acquisition will serve as headquarters for Willamette Valley operations

by Peter Mitham
Jackson Family Wines Oregon headquarters“ welcome=
Jackson Family Wines purchased 3600 SE Three Mile Lane in McMinnville (above) and the adjacent property to serve as its Oregon headquarters.
McMinnville, Ore.—Jackson Family Wines Inc. is preparing to develop a winemaking facility in the heart of the Willamette Valley with last week’s purchase of the former Evergreen International Airlines Inc. headquarters in McMinnville.

The vintner acquired two properties through bankruptcy proceedings related to the former aerospace firm for $4.6 million, giving Jackson Family Wines two buildings ideally situated for commercial and industrial use adjacent to McMinnville Municipal Airport.

The properties—3500 and 3600 Three Mile Lane—total approximately 50,800 square feet. Aimee Sands, director of communications for Jackson Family Wines, told Wines & Vines that the properties are slated to become the headquarters for the company’s Oregon winemaking operations.

“The central location of the site is convenient to all our Willamette Valley vineyards,” she said. “Our long-term plans include development of a wine-production facility, though we don’t have a timeline or specifics to share at this point.”

Jackson successfully bid on the properties in October, but legal proceedings associated with the winding up of proceedings against Evergreen delayed the closing until the new year.

The move is part of a long-term vision by Jackson Family Wines to establish a presence in Oregon. The company acquired 1,400 acres of vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills and Yamhill-Carlton AVAs in 2013, transactions that included Soléna Estate (a small-scale facility intended to serve its recently acquired vineyards in the area).

“In order to fulfill our vision for creating world-class Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley, we need a winery capable of producing artisan wines,” Hugh Reimers, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Jackson Family Wines, said at the time (see “Oregon Wine Continues to Draw Investment”). 

The company debuted a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir under its La Crema label in 2014 and has long been expected to become a more visible player in the valley as it finds its feet. While JFW lost out on an earlier bid for a slice of the Evergreen properties, last week’s closing on the two buildings in McMinnville give it a highly visible location for showcasing its operations in the area.

“Right now, I think it’s a lot of insider stuff to a great extent,” said Scott Neal, owner of Coeur de Terre Vineyard, just west of McMinnville, told Wines & Vines. “It’s not real until people can actually see it.”

The property is highly visible and should serve Jackson Family Wines well.

“It’s on a very busy, traveled road, and it’s a pretty large facility,” Neal said. “Once they put that physical presence in place, that’s going to spur a lot of folks to recognize it, write stories and make it more of a presence.”

While some fear the influx of investment from California could change the industry in Oregon and the Northwest, Neal is not among them.

Rather, he says the small, family-run wineries of Oregon wine country have set the tone for future development. “It’s on that next trajectory, it seems to me right now,” he said. “It’s all setting up for good things.”

Currently no comments posted for this article.