Force Majeure: A New Winemaker Arrives

by Shona Milne on June 5, 2014

Force Majeure Vineyards Announces the Signing of Winemaker Todd Alexander

Winemaker Moves from Napa Valley’s Prestigious Bryant Family Vineyard to Celebrated Washington State Winery to Head up its Red Mountain Estate Vineyard Projects

Force Majeure, the highly-acclaimed winery from Washington State’s Red Mountain AVA, has appointed Todd Alexander as its first Head Winemaker and General Manager. Alexander comes to Force Majeure from cult winery Bryant Family Vineyard of Pritchard Hill in Napa Valley. The wines he produced at Bryant have earned high scores and critical praise from the media and trade, establishing Alexander as one of the top winemakers in the country.

According to owners Susan and Paul McBride, “From the beginning, Force Majeure has been defined by an unwavering commitment to meticulous viticulture and exemplary winemaking. Our Collaboration Series has featured some of Washington’s finest winemakers and one of Red Mountain’s greatest vineyards ‑ Ciel du Cheval. Now that our estate vineyard is in full production and a second adjacent site is under development, the time seemed right to add a dedicated, highly-skilled and quality-focused winemaker. We found in Todd someone who shares our vision and recognizes the extraordinary character of our terroir. His background at Bryant Family, working with legendary viticulturist David Abreu and winemaking consultant Michel Rolland, give him the experience and expertise needed to take Force Majeure to the next level.”

Initially, Alexander will oversee the blending and bottling of the Collaboration Series wines from the 2012 and 2013 vintages currently in barrel. Beginning with the 2014 vintage, he will be responsible for shaping the style and profile of the Force Majeure estate wines. Alexander is looking forward to making the move to Washington and working with fruit from the Red Mountain AVA. “Red Mountain is an extremely complex and exciting growing region undergoing a lot of development right now. The Force Majeure vineyards, in particular, are especially compelling and I see serious potential for the wines from those sites. This is not a project I would take on if I didn’t think it was possible to achieve world-class quality.”

Alexander continues, “Joining Susan and Paul at Force Majeure is an amazing opportunity. As much as I value my experience at Bryant Family Vineyard, this is the right move for my family and me. I am excited to apply the skills I have honed over the past eight years to an area that has demonstrated such incredible success with red Bordeaux and Rhone varieties, yet still affords so much opportunity.”

“Todd understands that one of the things that differentiates the great wineries of the world is their ability to create wines that are defining expressions of their terroirs,” says Paul McBride. “He has been entrusted to play a key role in shaping the characteristics of Force Majeure’s sites and our wines. So confident are we in Todd’s abilities that we are currently building a state-of-the-art winery to his exacting specifications in Woodinville, WA.”

Force Majeure currently makes 2,000 cases per year with plans to increase quantities to 4,000 cases as their second 20-acre parcel comes into production. The winery’s focus is on red Bordeaux and Rhone varieties. Future estate wines will also include proprietary blends in each style.

About Force Majeure

Force Majeure Vineyards produces small quantities of Bordeaux- and Rhone-based wines from Eastern Washington’s celebrated Red Mountain AVA. Launched by Paul and Susan McBride in 2004 under the name Grand Reve Vintners, the winery has been making highly-acclaimed, terroir-driven wines under the Force Majeure moniker since the 2009 vintage. Force Majeure first achieved critical praise and for its Collaboration Series that featured fruit from the iconic Ciel de Cheval vineyard vinified by some of Washington’s top winemakers. In 2014, the winery hired Todd Alexander ‑ a talented winemaker who had previously worked at Napa Valley’s Bryant Family Vineyard ‑ to serve as head winemaker and general manager. Force Majeure’s Estate Vineyard began production with the 2010 vintage.

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