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Washington’s Betz Family Winery Sold to New Owners

One of Washington state’s more beloved wineries has changed hands for a second time. Ackley Brands, a small but rapidly growing beverage firm, has purchased Betz Family Winery, founded by longtime Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Bob Betz, from Steve and Bridgit Griessel, the owners since 2011. The deal also includes Washington wine brand The Untold Story and Oregon label SUNU.

The purchase price was not disclosed. The sale includes all three brands and inventory. Betz buys its fruit from several notable vineyards and has been making its wines in a custom crush facility since 2021. Bob Betz will remain as a consultant for the labels and longtime winemaker Louis Skinner will remain in his role.

“When I entered the wine industry, Betz was a priority on my list of wineries to engage with,” said Brandon Ackley, Ackley Brands CEO. “I hold immense respect for the individuals behind these notable wines.”

[article-img-container][src=2024-05/ns_betz-ackley-sale-051424_1600.jpg] [credit= (Courtesy Ackley Brands)] [alt= New owner Brandon Ackley, founder Bob Betz, previous owner Bridgit Griessel and longtime winemaker Louis Skinner.][end: article-img-container]

Ackley Brands was founded in 2016 when the Ackley family purchased Montinore Estate in Oregon. Brandon Ackley is also co-founder and managing director of Ackley Capital, a private investment firm based in Seattle. Ackley Brands owns 10 wine brands and a brewery. In April, the company bought Hogue Cellars and Columbia Winery, two well-known value-priced wine labels, from Gallo Family. Those two brands have a combined production of 130,000 cases per year. Betz Family, a premium label that routinely earns outstanding scores, produces 2,500 cases a year. SUNU produces 1,000 cases.

“With its recent acquisitions, Ackley Brands has made an unmistakable statement about its commitment to the future of Washington wine. I’m eager to see Betz Family as part of this dynamic portfolio,” said Bob Betz.

Betz grew up in Seattle and planned to be a doctor but became enamored with wine after several trips to Europe. He joined Chateau Ste. Michelle in 1976 and held many positions over the years in winemaking, research, education and public relations. While still working at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Betz and his wife Cathy founded Betz Family Winery in 1997, producing just 150 cases the first vintage. He retired from Chateau Ste. Michelle in 2003.

—With reporting by Tim Fish.

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