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Washington State's Sagemoor launches online retail shop

New platform cross-promotes company vineyards and partner wineries
by Gary Werner
December 08, 2017

Sagemoor has been a respected name within the Pacific Northwest wine industry since the early 1970s. Farming over a thousand acres of vineyards across five sites in the Columbia Valley, the Pasco-based company sells grapes to more than one hundred wineries. Even so, name recognition has been limited to crushpad conversations, trade seminars, and back-label marginalia.

Selections by Sagemoor, an online wine retail shop, launched this week to begin promoting the vineyard brand.

Consumers can order themed, three-bottle sets representing different wine styles and different wineries—all showcasing fruit from the company’s revered holdings, such as the Bacchus and Dionysus vineyards. The current offering (selling at $110) comprises one critically acclaimed Bordeaux-style red from each of three Walla Walla wineries: àMaurice, Mackey, and Trust Cellars. Future selections will include a mix of varietals produced by a single partner winery. Also, the vineyard company’s own new label, Wines by Sagemoor, will debut next week with a Cabernet Sauvignon, two Rieslings, and a Sauvignon Blanc.

The new venture is the creation of Sagemoor director of vineyard operations Kent Waliser. When Allan Brothers, a local fruit-packing and shipping company, bought Sagemoor during the spring of 2014, Waliser embraced the change as an opportunity to innovate. “I felt that we could build a direct-to-consumer business to sell wines from the wineries that we supply with grapes,” he said. “We have a lot of customers who create fabulous expressions of the work we do in the vineyards—certainly enough to stock an online store.” He added, “It also made sense since we have the good fortune of deep industry relationships, financial backing, warehouses, and an I.T. department. These all are assets that most people don’t have when they start up.”

Waliser pointed out that Selections by Sagemoor is not something that needs to drive profits for the vineyard company. “But it is worth pursuing as a means of creatively raising our profile. I think there are enough wine consumers now who want to be connected—down to the block level—with the source of what they drink. So the real brand is Sagemoor Vineyards, as interpreted by the vision and skill of up to a hundred different winemakers.”

Not that a hundred wineries are involved at this early stage. Waliser raised the idea with just a handful of close clients, but the response from all was very positive. “I shared that I want to collaborate in bringing something new to the curious consumer. I also said that I’m not looking to discount anyone’s wine. To the contrary, I want to raise awareness of our vineyard sites and—in doing so—raise the value of wines that people are making from them.”

Waliser emphasized that the new business is not a “club”. There are no subscriptions or membership fees.

“It’s simply a comparative experience for wine consumers, employing different varieties, different vineyard sites, and different skilled winemakers,” he said. In the near term, shipping is limited to customers in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. And this local focus intentional, Waliser said, reflecting the distribution of many wineries that Sagemoor supplies with grapes. Moving forward, market expansion will come with demand.

Selections by Sagemoor is found at selectionsbysagemoor.com. Additional questions can be directed to manager Lesley Lochmiller at (509) 895-5620.


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