Jackson Family Wines Has Its Eyes Set On Washington State

Unless you are a connoisseur of American wines, you're not likely to know too much about Washington State's Walla Walla Valley. The valley is located in the state's southeastern region, with sections that cross the state line into Oregon. While valleys like Northern California's Napa or Sonoma have been producing wine since the mid 19th century per Sonoma Valley, Walla Walla is a much younger region. Wine Folly says the region was not named an American Viticultural Area or AVA until 1984 — and at that time, different grape varietals were said to have been scattered across 60 acres. 

But Walla Walla has grown since then. The region is now known for its reds, including Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, whose grapes are grown in over 1,500 acres of vineyard (per Wine-Searcher). 

It is no surprise that premier Sonoma vintner Jackson Family Wines chose a partnership with one of Walla Walla's top winemakers, Abeja, which sold Jackson Family Wines 61 acres of vineyard land. Wine Spectator, which reported on the deal, said the production would be handled by Chris Carpenter, who specializes in wines produced in mountainous areas. 

Its partnership with Abeja is Jackson Family Wines' first venture into Washington

Wine Spectator identified the Walla Walla deal as Jackson Family Wines' first venture into Washington State. The family makes wine in other parts of the world, including Chile, Italy, South Australia, Bordeaux, and South Africa. One of the company's executives, Christopher Jackson, told the site that the company "know(s) Walla Walla Valley is an exceptional region in North America for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, and this particular site in Mill Creek possesses ideal conditions in terms of soils, elevation and climate."

While Jackson Family Wines might own a little over half of Abeja's 117-acre property — Abeja retained 56 acres. Both halves will be known as one vineyard. Abeja will also purchase grapes from the Jackson Family-owned half of the vineyard, and both partners are working on a name under which their wines will be sold. Abeja is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.

To prepare for their move into Walla Walla, the Jackson Family Vineyards bought grapes from different vineyards and plans to release a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot for the 2021 vintage. These wines are currently being produced in a rented facility, but that will change when the company's Washington space is built and ready to go.