In 2013, the owners of the Vancouver Canucks bought 670 acres of land in Washington’s most important vineyard region.
A BRITISH COLUMBIA family that spent more than $8 million on vineyard land on famed Red Mountain in Eastern Washington is ready to release the first fruits of its labor.
The Aquilini family, which owns the Vancouver Canucks and several restaurants, as well as other diversified farming operations in B.C. and Washington, is releasing its first wines this fall (they should be available at fine wine shops). It also is making plans to build a winery and open a tasting room in the Seattle area, probably around Woodinville.
In late 2013, the Aquilinis surprised everyone when they swooped in and bought 670 acres of land on Red Mountain during a land auction described at the time as the last big land grab. Essentially, the family nabbed the final available parcels in Washington’s most important vineyard region.
Since that auction, the Aquilinis have bought a bit more land on Red Mountain and added 200-acre Windy Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills. For the past three years, the Aquilinis have been busy planting grapes. They have 647 acres of vines planted on Red Mountain, 65 percent of which are cabernet sauvignon, along with other Bordeaux varieties. They plan to sell a bit of their fruit, with the rest going to their own brand.
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To accommodate this, they are getting ready to break ground on a winery on Red Mountain, in an old rock quarry just down the hill from Col Solare. The first wines were made by Charlie Hoppes, owner of Fidelitas Wines on Red Mountain, and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka, a Bordeaux-born, Napa Valley-based winemaker who is no stranger to Washington, as he makes a wine for Long Shadows Vintners, as well as for Corliss Estates, both in Walla Walla.
In addition to wine and hockey, the Aquilinis also are land developers in Vancouver. And they’re among the biggest growers of cranberries and blueberries in the Northwest. Their holdings include a blueberry farm in Snohomish County and a dairy in the Yakima Valley town of Sunnyside.