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Duck Pond sells out

Published:  13 September, 2018

Iconic wine estate Duck Pond Cellars has been sold to a corporate investor.

The winery, founded by Doug and Jo Ann Fries in Dundee, Oregon, was purchased last month by the Great Oregon Wine Company (GOWC) for an undisclosed sum.

The transfer of ownership includes the winery, its brand and tasting room and more than 300 acres of vineyards, including Coles Valley in the Umpqua Valley and smaller vineyards in the Willamette Valley and Dundee Hills.

“As a family, we have all put a ton of energy into the business for over 25 years. We decided that scaling back our business interests was a better fit in terms of where our family is now,” said owner Greg Fries.

“Letting go of the business was not easy, but I could tell GOWC would be a great fit to own the company - they have a lot of energy and ambition,” he added.

According to Fries, the new owners will continue to work with the existing team at Duck Pond Cellars, including winemaker Trevor Chlanda.

“Continuity is important to the GOWC team,” said Fries. “They look forward to maintaining this approach with Trevor Chlanda staying on board to lead the charge.”

The sale forms part of a growing trend for family-owned businesses to be sold to companies in the US, with a lack of intergenerational interest often blamed for this rising phenomenon.

In this case, Greater Oregon Wine Co is a division of the Denver-based Integrated Beverage Group – the purchase will ensure that GOWC becomes one of the largest producers of wine in Oregon.

However, the former owners don't plan to simply retire and enjoy their fortune. “My plans include focusing on growing grapes from our Willamette Valley vineyards in the South Salem Hills and continuing to make wine at our Desert Wind Winery, in Prosser, WA,” said Fries.