Betz Family Winery: First Estate Vineyard

by Shona Milne on December 17, 2014

Betz Family Winery Purchases First Estate Vineyard at SeVein Vineyards

in the Walla Walla Valley

Betz Family Winery, producer of some of Washington State’s most sought-after wines, has purchased property at SeVein Vineyards of Distinction, the much-admired viticultural area on the southern border of the Walla Walla Valley AVA in Oregon.  It is Betz Family’s first estate vineyard.

SeVein is a collection of some of the most technologically advanced vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley.  Managing partners include respected Washington vintners Chris and Gary Figgins, of Figgins Family Wine Estates (Leonetti Cellar, FIGGINS, and Toil Oregon), Marty Clubb, L’Ecole N° 41 and Norm McKibben, Pepper Bridge and Amavi.  The partners purchased the SeVein property surrounding their renowned Seven Hills Vineyard in 2004 to expand their own estate vineyard holdings and further enhance Walla Walla’s reputation for world-class vineyards by selling and developing vineyard parcels to such highly regarded wineries as Doubleback, JM Cellars, Cadaretta, Gramercy and Va Piano, among others.

“Betz Family is unrelenting in their pursuit of quality.  Everything they do is first-class, and they will be incredible neighbors,” said Chris Figgins.  Betz Family Winery was able to study the land in detail and select a block in keeping with the area’s past successes and its own priorities; the winery plans to eventually plant 24 acres at the site, according to Figgins.

Steve and Bridgit Griessel purchased Betz Family Winery in 2011.  Bob Betz, the winery’s founder, continues as winemaker. He and the Griessels began investigating opportunities for an estate vineyard purchase last year to complement the grapes they purchase from some of the most acclaimed vineyards in the state.

“Since our first harvest in 1997, Betz Family Winery has dedicated itself to crafting limited production, high quality wines by working with inspired winegrowers across the Columbia Valley and that remains our model,” said Griessel.  “Bob had worked with Walla Walla grapes in the past and was interested in returning to the AVA.  Some of Washington’s finest wines have their origin in Walla Walla, and SeVein is an extraordinary site that has already proven itself.”

In June, Decanter Magazine World Wine Awards presented the L’Ecole N° 41 2011 Estate Ferguson from Ferguson Vineyard at SeVein with its prestigious International Trophy for Best in Show, Red Bordeaux Varietals over £15.

Betz Family will begin preparing the ground at their new vineyard in 2015, with plans to plant Bordeaux varieties – predominately Cabernet Sauvignon – in 2016.  “SeVein’s Bordeaux wines offer an extraordinary combination of power, depth and finesse,” says Betz.  “Wines from this site reflect a unique sense of place that we want to add to our ‘portfolio of sensory character’ to craft future wines.”  Betz and Griessel tasted a broad range of SeVein and Seven Hills Vineyard barrel samples earlier this year to better understand the distinctiveness and potential of this specific terroir.  Betz added, “Incorporating a Walla Walla Valley vineyard of this caliber into our cellar is in keeping with our tradition of blending across appellations to achieve complexity and richness.”  Griessel emphasized the winery will remain singularly focused on small quantities of red wines with no plans to grow production.

SeVein is a dramatic 2,700-acre site that climbs to an elevation of 1,500 feet above sea level.  Almost 60% the property’s 1,800 plantable acres have been planted, sold or are in development.  Roughly 650 acres remain for sale.  Each parcel includes water rights served from three deep basalt wells interconnected through one of the most technologically advanced water systems ever developed for vineyards.  The property is situated on a dramatic series of ridges composed of 15 million year–old ancient basalt flows overlaid with combinations of wind-blown loess and ice age glacial flood sediments.

More information on SeVein is available at

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