The Family Coppola said Monday it has acquired a 42-acre vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, making it the latest Sonoma County wine company to buy a stake in the Beaver State as its reputation for fine wine grows.
The Geyserville-based winery founded by famed film director Francis Ford Coppola bought the Vista Hills Vineyard and its tasting room from the McDaniel family for an undisclosed price. The McDaniels will retain the Vista Hills brand.
The transaction is the first time Coppola has bought any property outside California, but follows a trend of other local vintners, such as Jackson Family Wines, Foley Family Wines and Silver Oak, making investments in Oregon. The Willamette Valley is known for its high-quality Burgundian varietals that some critics say can rival the Sonoma Coast and the Russian River Valley wine regions.
Coppola will use the property for a new premium label especially designated from the region, said Corey Beck, CEO of the company, which also includes film and food ventures.
“There are going to be other opportunities there,” Beck said of Oregon.
The company will not build a winery to crush the fruit and instead will rely on a third-party winery.
Beck said he and Coppola recently visited the property, at an elevation of between 680 and 860 feet, and a group of visitors rode up on horseback to do a tasting. The company wants to keep tourism at a small scale on the Oregon property, in sharp contrast to the Geyersville location, which is one of Sonoma County’s top tourist attractions.
“The space up there doesn’t lend itself to hundreds of cars,” Beck said.
Mario Zepponi, a partner of Zepponi and Co., a Santa Rosa mergers-and-acquisitions advisory firm that worked for the McDaniel family, said his company already has made at least four deals in Oregon this year and expects more to come, especially as some French vintners have made inroads, too.
The Willamette Valley offers advantages, such as less regulation in constructing wineries and cutting down trees to replace vineyards, Zepponi said. Beck said Coppola will not cut down a 5-acre forest parcel on the new property and will leave the land as it is.
The dollar difference also is significant. While some of the top pinot noir areas in Sonoma County are nearing $200,000 per acre, land in the Willamette Valley goes for between $75,000 and $100,000 per acre, Zepponi said.
“The pinot is increasingly on par of what you will find in Sonoma,” he said.
You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @BillSwindell.