YAKIMA – DuBrul Vineyard has gained respect in the wine industry for producing top-notch wine grapes.
With microclimates that can accommodate different grape varieties, the vineyard near Sunnyside has sourced many award-winning wines, including ones from its estate brand, Cote Bonneville.
But with those wineries producing just a few thousand cases of wine a year, DuBrul’s reputation doesn’t extend too far beyond the Pacific Northwest.
So for Cote Bonneville winemaker Kerry Shiels, the acquisition of Washington brands Columbia Winery and Covey Run Winery by Modesto, Calif.-based E. J. Gallo Winery, the world’s largest privately owned wine company, is a good thing.
“I think the entrance into the state by a California producer signals that Washington has grown up to the point that it is an important, viable player in the wine industry,” Shiels said.
In fact, the Washington wine industry’s response to Gallo’s acquisition early last month has been overwhelmingly positive, which may appear Pollyannaish to other industries where competition is more cutthroat.
But most believe Gallo’s entrance here will generate much-needed exposure for what is still a relatively young wine region.
“The first and most important thing is that your category is healthy,” said Andrew Browne, founder and CEO of Seattle-based Precept Wine, which owns several brands, including Willow Crest Estate Winery and Sagelands Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. “We have a greater chance of making the category – Washington wines – more competitive and more enticing for the consumer.”