Canadian Invasion! Hockey Honchos Buy, Develop Washington Land


A chunk of Washington wine growing land was just too tempting for one well known Canadian family. 
Aquilini Investment Group, which bears the name of the family who owns the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks, has begun development of 690 acres of land on Red Mountain, a chunk of land included in the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area. 
“Cab is king so cabernet, merlot, malbec, cab franc and even some syrah and just really high quality clones trying to find the right places for the right varieties and that’s really what we’re all about,” Aquilini President Barry Olivier said in an interview with an Washington NBC affiliate.“This was a great opportunity to invest and build something special down here.”
According to the NBC story, the investment plans to build a winery, plant vines, and also dabble in apple orchards, blueberries and cherries.
Then investment group first heard about the chunk of prime grape-growing earth in 2013 when they discovered parcels of land – 31, to be exact -- were going to be auctioned off that November. 
Kris Watkins, the CEO and president of the local tourism board, said he hopes the Canadian investment group will build a tasting room, presumably to bring more visitors to the area. 
“The investor has purchased some of the most premiere wine land, grape producing land in the entire state of Washington and for that matter very well known throughout the nation and internationally, so my hopes would be that they would also build a world-class tasting room to accompany their investment,” Watkins told the NBC affiliate. 
The Aquilini Investment Group plans to plant about 1000 acres of grapes, the story said, and anticipate that their first wines will come out in 2018.
Fernanda Lopez, a reporter with the NBC affiliate, talked with Olivier on the Red Mountain property, an interview which was featured with the story.
Red Mountain is a gently sloping low-profile “mountain”. In the video, the viewer can see various types of earthmoving equipment roaming in the background. 
Olivier said the first vines should go into the ground this week. 
“We’re just pleased to be down here and being part of the Washington wine industry. We want to be in the business of cultivating land and grapes,” Olivier said as the earthmovers crawled across the ground behind him, “and nurturing those grapes into wine,” Olivier said. 

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