California company buys Walla Walla’s Seven Hills Winery

By on January 27, 2016
Casey McClellan and his wife, Vicky, founded Seven Hills Winery in 1988. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Casey McClellan and his wife, Vicky, founded Seven Hills Winery in 1988. They announced today that they have sold the winery to Crimson Wine Group in Napa, Calif. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Seven Hills Winery, one of Washington’s oldest producers, has been purchased by Crimson Wine Group.

Crimson Wine Group, based in Napa, Calif., also owns Double Canyon in the Horse Heaven Hills and Archery Summit in Oregon’s Dundee Hills. Last month, the company opened a tasting room for its two Northwest brands in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.

Seven Hills Winery launched in Walla Walla in 1988, then moved south to Milton-Freewater, Ore., for several years. In 2001, the winery relocated to downtown Walla Walla – making it the only winery to start in Washington, move to Oregon, then move back to Washington. The winery’s tasting room and production facility are in the historic Whitehouse-Crawford building next to the Marcus Whitman Hotel.

“Joining the Crimson portfolio is an exciting and logical next step,” said Casey McClellan, owner, founder and winemaker for Seven Hills Winery. “It was critical to our family to transition Seven Hills Winery into the right hands, and Crimson’s commitment to producing quality wines from the best-of-class vineyards and estates is well aligned with our philosophy.”

Seven Hills Winery founders to stay

Casey McClellan helped establish Seven Hills Vineyard in 1982, and he planted McClellan Estate Vineyard nearby in the Walla Walla Valley in 2003.

Casey McClellan helped establish Seven Hills Vineyard in 1982, and he planted McClellan Estate Vineyard nearby in the Walla Walla Valley in 2003. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

McClellan and his wife, Vicky, will remain involved in Seven Hills Winery’s operations. He is a fourth-generation farmer whose family’s agricultural roots in Eastern Washington go back nearly a century. He and his father, Jim, planted the original Seven Hills Vineyard in 1982.

In addition to using grapes from the McClellan Estate Vineyard, Seven Hills Winery also uses fruit from Seven Hills Vineyard, as well as Ciel du Cheval and Klipsun vineyards on Red Mountain. McClellan’s wines are highly regarded as among the best in the Northwest, consistently earning top scores and medals from regional and national wine critics.

Patrick DeLong, president and CEO of Crimson Wine Group, was excited to add Seven Hills Winery to its company.

“We are constantly evaluating the market for the right growth opportunities and fit,” he said. “Seven Hills Winery is a strategic match for Crimson. The acquisition is complementary to the Crimson mission and portfolio, adding a high-quality growing region that excels in the production of Merlot and Bordeaux-style red blends.”

DeLong added that he sees good opportunities for growth.

“We’re honored that Casey and Vicky have entrusted us to care for this historic Washington wine estate moving forward.”

McClellan said he believes the winery he has operated for nearly 30 years is in good hands.

“We are confident Crimson will preserve the integrity of what my family has built over the years, while providing the resources to take our wines to the next level,” McClellan said.

In addition to the three Northwest properties, Crimson also owns Pine Ridge Vineyards in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District; Seghesio Family Vineyards in Healdsburg, Calif.; and Chamisal Vineyards in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .


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