CASHMERE — Popular Rock Island Red and Naked Chardonnay wines will expand under Ryan Patrick Vineyard’s new owner.
Final papers were signed early this month on the sale of the Cashmere winery to Wahluke Wine Co. in Mattawa.
Terry Flanagan, who developed Ryan Patrick after planting vineyards on family property near Ancient Lakes and Quincy in the mid 1990s, said the larger company’s offer to purchase the Ryan Patrick label created an opportunity that made a lot of sense at the right time.
The growing popularity of Ryan Patrick’s flagship wines, Rock Island Red and Naked Chardonnay, required higher input of capital that he didn’t have. With the death of his youngest son, Patrick, a few years ago, Flanagan said he didn’t have a succession plan to keep the winery going. His older son, Ryan, wants to continue working in vineyard management. He is a fieldman for Evergreen Vineyards, owned by Jerry Milbrandt, as well as Ryan Patrick’s own 65 acres, which the family will keep. Wahluke Wine Co. is owned by Jerry and Butch Milbrandt, who own about 2,000 acres of wine grapes between Mattawa and Quincy.
Brian Thoet, business development manager for Wahluke Wine Co., said the company wanted a well-established label for its own line of wines. Wahluke is a custom crush winery for dozens of other wines in the state, including Milbrandt Vineyards.
“Our intention is to build on what Terry has done. We want to keep the same labels and level of quality, but bring our economy of scale,” Thoet said. The winery had been making wines for many other wineries for years, but did not have a label of its own.
The company plans to expand distribution and sales of Rock Island Red and Naked Chardonnay but may make some changes to other wines in the Ryan Patrick lineup.
Ryan Patrick will continue to very much be a family affair, he said. Terry Flanagan will continue to work in marketing the wines. His wife Vivian will continue to manage the Ryan Patrick tasting room in Leavenworth. Ryan will continue management of Ryan Patrick’s vineyards and Milbrandt’s Evergreen Vineyard.
Josh Maloney, Wahluke Wine Co.’s director of winemaking, will oversee production of Ryan Patrick wines. Craig Mitrakul, Ryan Patrick’s former winemaker, is now head winemaker at Karma Vineyards in Chelan.
Ryan Patrick’s one-year-old wine production facility and tasting room in Cashmere has closed and assets have been sold, Thoet said.