Windy Ridge Vineyards & Aldercreek Vineyards – Sold! $6,890,000

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Auction Details

April 4, 2014 2:00 PM
Site Location: Alderdale, WA Auction Location: Pasco, WA 3035 Rickenbacker Drive Pasco, WA 99301

If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 509.416.6060

Taste of the Horse Heaven Hills on Thursday, April 3rd at the Musser Bros. Office from 5-7 PM

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A great opportunity for you to meet your potential neighbors, introduce yourself to The Musser Bros. staff and ask any questions, pre-register and learn more about The PowerParcels Auction Method.

We will have light appetizers and a tasting of some of Horse Heaven Hills’ finest wines.


Inspection Periods

You may schedule an appointment or take a look at your convenience.  Each parcel has a large yellow sign identifying each parcel.

Directions to Site

From Interstate I-82 just north of the Oregon border, take Exit 131 and travel West on Highway 14 for 31.5 Miles.  Turn North on Alderdale Road for 1.7 Miles to 6 Prong Road.  Travel West for 2.1 Miles to Sand Ridge Road, then 2.7 Miles where it becomes Hereford Drive.  Continue 1.7 Miles to farm location.

General Information

694± Gross Acres located within the Horse Heaven Hills Appellation with 335± planted to various wine grapes.

The Horse Heaven Hills Appellation is home to 25% of Washington State’s vineyard acreage and a source of four 100-point Washington State Wines.  This appellation is home to some world-renowned vineyards and wineries, including Canoe Ridge, Champoux Vineyards, Alexandria Nicole, Quilceda Creek Vintners and many, many more.

The land slopes south from the 1,800 ft. ridges to the Columbia River. Horse Heaven Hills’ topography and soil composition add to the uniqueness of this growing area.  Average summer sunlight hours are 17.4 per day, 2 hours more than California’s prime growing region. The hot days and cool nights help maintain acidity and aid in color development. The location has a long growing season, which promotes a longer hang time and a historically smaller chance of winter damage due to temperature extremes. The area receives an annual rainfall amount of 6 to 8 inches and has approximately 300 frost-free days.

The soil has 2 to 4 feet of well-drained sandy loam topsoil on top of fractured basalt allowing exceptional drainage. Sitting between Alder Canyon, approximately 600± feet deep, and the Columbia River, the land maintains a south, south- east slope across the property with elevations from 1200’ to 950’. The 250 foot elevation that drops across the property continues as a 4-5% slope towards the Columbia River after leaving the property and is one of the factors in developing steady and even air drainage, a critical component in moderating temperature extremes and in stressing the fruit (an important factor during ripening.)


Musser Bros. is pleased to offer this producing vineyard at public auction.

Interactive Parcel Map

Auction Parcels

Parcel 1

2 Shop Buildings, Residence and Well Site

Gross Acres:  200.97±

Vine Acres:  83.00±

Planting Density:  9′ x 6′

Cabernet Sauvignon 30.3
Malbec 5.0
Merlot 4.7
Sauvignon Blanc 7.4
Sangiovese 4.8
Syrah 30.8


Parcel 2

Gross Acres:  119.98±

Vine Acres:  78.70±

Planting Density:  9′ x 6′

Cabernet Franc 11.4
Cabernet Sauvignon 18.5
Merlot 17.5
Petit Verdot 3.3
Syrah 28.0


Parcel 3

Gross Acres:  75.96±

Vine Acres:  63.17±

Planting Density:  7′ x 5′

Cabernet Sauvignon 63.2


Parcel 4

Gross Acres:  297.91±

Vine Acres:  116.80±

Planting Density:  9′ x 6′

Cabernet Franc 17.0
Cabernet Sauvignon 25.0
Merlot 36.4
Sauvignon Blanc 19.3
Syrah 19.1


The vineyards have a demonstrated history of productivity, but there have also been significant setbacks over the history of Aldercreek and Windy Ridge.  After historically high yields in 2008, mismanagement and lack of resources led to historically low yields in 2009.  The previous owner and developer of the vineyards, Dave Groth, died abruptly in 2009, and the vineyards were leased in 2010 by Chuck Johnson and his company Columbia River Investment Co. Yields continued to suffer in 2010 (due in part to a freeze that year) and 2011, as CRVI did not have sufficient resources for the necessary inputs or labor, and lacked expertise in vineyard management.

In 2012, the receiver was appointed and was able to secure financing from Rabobank for farm management, proper inputs, and substantial work on rebuilding the trellises.  The receiver has employed Northwest Vineyard Management to run the farm, under the oversight of Marshall Edwards. Under the expert care and stewardship of Northwest Vineyard Managment, many improvements have been made, such as  planting 71 acres of new vine, remediating the existing vine, improving the trellises, rebuilding the pumphouse and installing a variable speed pumping system, security fencing around the yard and well, and restoration of the farm manager’s residence.

In 2013, winemakers at Ste. Michelle determined the crop should stay on the vine into early November, when brix levels reached as high as 28.5.  A windstorm a few days prior to harvest resulted in the loss of at least 50 or 60 tons, and the fruit by that time had lost significant volume.

Crop insurance was obtained in 2012 through Northwest Farm Credit Services, Aimee Pearson, agent, and is transferrable to the buyers. The crop is under contract to Ste. Michelle Winery Estates through 2017, and the management contract with NWVM is renewable. The farm manager, Oscar Gonzalez, lives on site with his family and is eager to continue his employment.

The crop production through 2017 is subject to a Grape Purchase Contract with Ste. Michelle.  This contract is available by contacting the Auctioneers.


Water Permits

The property is irrigated from a well (the Windy Ridge Irrigation Well) located on Parcel B (Windy Ridge I).  The water right for this well was originally issued by the Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) in 1973 with a priority date of March 18, 1971.  The original water right allowed irrigation of 300 acres located within Sections 22, 23, 26, and 27, Township 5 North, Range 22 East, W.M., from a well located in the NE ¼ of the NE ¼ of Section 27, at a maximum instantaneous withdrawal rate of 1200 gallons per minute.

In December 2000, Ecology and the Klickitat County Water Conservancy Board approved a change to the original water right to allow irrigation of wine grapes within an expanded place of use. This change authorization (Water Right Certificate No. CG3-00979C) is held in the name of Windy Ridge Vineyard, LLC.  It allows irrigation of up to 726 acres of wine grapes within a 1,280-acre place of use in Sections 22, 23, 26, and 27 of Township 5 North, Range 22 East, W.M.  Irrigation of crops other than wine grapes will reduce the number of acres allowed to be irrigated under the water right.

The Water Conservancy Board reduced the maximum annual volume under the water right to 1,118 acre-feet per year, and Ecology further limited the allowed annual use by restricting it to an average annual consumptive quantity of 877 acre-feet.  (All water withdrawn under this water right is considered to be consumptively used.)  Therefore, a total of 877 acre-feet is considered to be available annually for irrigation.  The maximum instantaneous withdrawal rate is the same as under the original water right:  1200 gallons per minute.

Parcels A, B, C, and D (corresponding to Parcels 4, 1, 2, and 3 respectively) are located within the authorized place of use for Water Right Certificate No. CG3-00979C.  The water right place of use also includes Parcel E, an 80-acre parcel owned by Al Fountain (also referred to as the “Elerding Property”) which is irrigated from the Windy Ridge Irrigation Well and Parcel F, an approximately 234.5-acre parcel owned by Al Fountain (also referred to as the “Pfeifer Property”) which has not been irrigated.  The remaining acreage within the authorized place of use was owned by David Groth (now deceased) and Fran Groth, and has never been irrigated.  In 2011, Fran Groth and the Estate of David Groth assigned their rights to water from the Windy Ridge Irrigation Well to the former owners of Parcel F.

The Windy Ridge Irrigation Well is managed and operated by Six Prong Irrigation, L.L.C. (“Six Prong”), a limited liability company originally formed in 2001 by the previous owners of the property.  Six Prong is currently managed by Shelly Crocker, acting in her capacity as Receiver for Aldercreek Vineyards LLC and Windy Ridge Vineyard, LLC.  The Six Prong Manager is responsible for rotating irrigation water deliveries between parcels and ensuring that use of water complies with the provisions of Water Right Certificate No. CG3-00979C.

Numerous Six Prong operating agreements and amendments – now superseded – appear of record.  An Amended and Restated Operating Agreement for Six Prong Irrigation, L.L.C. was effective on February 1, 2014.

The owners of Parcels A, B, C, and D are the current members of Six Prong.  The owner of each Parcel is responsible for paying a pro rata share, based on parcel water allocations, of the costs of operation and maintenance of the well.  Six Prong also furnishes water to Parcel E in exchange for payment of a pro rata share of costs of operation and maintenance.  (The previous owner of Parcel E and the previous owners of the remaining land covered under the water right certificate executed an interim Well Agreement in 2000, but the owner of Parcel E never became a member of Six Prong.)

All previous owners of Parcels A through F executed reciprocal easements and granted easements to Six Prong in an Irrigation Main Line and System Component Easement Agreement and Deed, recorded August 12, 2008 under Klickitat County AFN 1078603.

Ecology has established a development schedule with a deadline of December 31, 2015, to submit a Proof of Appropriation documenting the extent of beneficial use of water under the change authorization for Water Right Certificate No. CG3-00979C.

To date, water from the Windy Ridge Irrigation Well has been put to beneficial use for irrigation of the following Parcels in annual amounts estimated as follows:

202 acre-feet per year to irrigate 113.78 acres on Parcel A (Aldercreek Property)

119 acre-feet per year to irrigate 81.67 acres on Parcel B (Windy Ridge I)

130 acre-feet per year to irrigate 79.21 acres on Parcel C (Windy Ridge II)

101 acre-feet per year to irrigate 63.60 acres on Parcel D (Windy Ridge III)

122 acre-feet per year to irrigate 72.69 acres on Parcel E (Elerding Property)

These estimated amounts are calculated from irrigation records because complete season flow meter data are not available.[1]  Therefore, the maximum extent of appurtenant water rights established on each parcel may vary from these estimates.  Current water allocations to Six Prong members match these estimated annual amounts.

Under the Amended and Restated Operating Agreement of Six Prong Irrigation, L.L.C., the Manager of Six Prong will be responsible for submitting the Proof of Appropriation to Ecology prior to the deadline for documenting beneficial use.

[1] Flow meters were installed in 2013 to record water use for Parcels A and D, and it is anticipated that one additional flow meter will be installed in 2014 to enable recording of water use for Parcels B and C.


Ask the Auctioneer

Terms and Conditions

Revised: March 26, 2014

PROCEDURE: The property will be offered in 4 individual parcels, any combination of parcels and its’ entirety. There will be open bidding on all parcels and combinations during the auction as determined by the Auctioneer. Bids on parcels, parcel combinations and the total property may compete. ACCEPTANCE OF THE HIGHEST BID OR BIDS IS SUBJECT TO SELLER'S AND COURT APPROVAL.

DEPOSIT: 10% of the accepted bid price as down payment on the day of auction with the balance in cash at closing. Each bidder must present a $50,000 cashier’s check made self-payable upon registration for a bidder number. The Buyer will endorse this cashier’s check over to Ameri Title, if the Buyer is a successful bidder. This deposit will then either be applied to your purchase if the Seller approves the purchase, or returned either at the conclusion of the auction if you are not a high bidder or upon the Seller’s later rejection of the Purchase.

Your bidding is not conditional upon financing, so be sure that you have arranged financing, if needed, and are capable of paying cash at closing.

BUYERS PREMIUM: A 6% Buyer’s Premium will be added to the final high bid on each parcel or parcel(s) to determine the final purchase price.

CROP INPUTS: Purchaser shall reimburse Seller for all 2014 crop input costs incurred up to closing. Exact amount will be announced at auction time.

ACCEPTANCE OF BID PRICES: Each successful bidder will be required to execute a purchase and sale agreement at the auction site immediately following the close of the auction. All such purchase and sale agreements are then subject to the Seller’s and the Court's written acceptance or rejection within 7 days. Rabobank, N.A. (“Rabobank”) holds a first-priority mortgage against each of the parcels. As set forth in the Court’s February 4, 2014 Order Authorizing Public Sale Free and Clear of Liens, Encumbrances, and Rights of Redemption entered in the receivership case, Rabobank is authorized to submit multiple credit bids or a single credit bid for the property, up to the full amount of its total indebtedness as of the date of the auction. For avoidance of doubt, Rabobank may credit bid on (i) a single parcel, (ii) multiple but fewer than all parcels (i.e. 2 or 3 parcels), or (iii) all 4 of the parcels, as a whole. Until such time as total cash bids exceed the full amount of Rabobank’s total indebtedness, the auctioneer will ask Rabobank whether Rabobank wishes to make a credit bid (or bids) in excess of the then pending cash bids. If Rabobank elects to do so, the auctioneer will then re-open the cash bid process and repeat this process as many times as the parties continue to bid, until either Rabobank declines to increase its credit bid or bids, in which case the cash bids will be deemed the high bids, or the cash bidders decline to increase their cash bids, in which case Rabobank’s credit bid or bids will be deemed the high bids.

GRAPE PURCHASE CONTRACT: Sale is subject to a Grape Purchase Contract with Ste. Michelle that is effective through 2017. Contract can be reviewed by contacting Auctioneer's office.

EVIDENCE OF TITLE: The Seller agrees to furnish a preliminary standard owner’s title commitment to review prior to the auction. The cost of the standard owner’s title insurance policy will be paid by Seller at closing. Seller agrees to provide merchantable title to the property subject to matters of record, general conditions of title, and similar or related matters. All parcels will be sold AS IS, WHERE IS.

DEED: Special Warranty Deed subject to the matters described further below. Deed will be delivered at closing.

CLOSING: The balance of the purchase price will be paid in cash, collected or certified funds on or before May 9, 2014, unless the parties extend the date for closing in writing. Closing will be at the Auctioneer's offices or such other place as the parties agree and shall be conducted by AmeriTitle.

POSSESSION: Possession will be upon closing.

REAL ESTATE TAXES: Buyer(s) shall assume real estate taxes beginning with the date of closing.

ACREAGE: All acreages, dimensions and boundaries are approximate and have been estimated based on current legal descriptions.

SUBJECT TO SALE PRIOR TO AUCTION: This property is subject to sale prior to the auction. In the event that a Buyer makes an offer to Musser Bros. Inc. that is accepted by the Seller, the auction will be cancelled.

TITLE IS SUBJECT TO: Sale of the property is subject to any and all easements, covenants and restrictions of record, and matters, priorities and restrictions relating to water and water rights.

PROPERTY INSPECTION: Each potential bidder is responsible for conducting, at their own risk, independent inspections, investigations, inquiries, and due diligence concerning the property. Inspection dates have been scheduled and will be staffed with auction personnel. Each potential bidder shall be liable for any property damage and/ or personal injuries (including death) caused by or arising from any such inspection or investigations by them or their agents or consultants.

AGENCY: Musser Bros. Inc. and Real Estate Auction Consultants, Inc. and their representatives are the Auctioneers and exclusive agents of the Seller.

BUYER BROKER PARTICIPATION: Up to a 2% commission will be paid to any properly licensed buyer’s Broker who registers a successful buyer according to the Broker Participation Guidelines. Broker registration forms are available from the Auctioneer. Forms must be completed and returned no later than 48 hours prior to the auction.

DISCLAIMER & ABSENCE OF WARRANTIES: All information contained in this brochure and all related materials are subject to the terms and conditions outlined in the Real Estate Purchase Contract. ANY ANNOUNCEMENTS MADE THE DAY OF SALE TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER PRINTED MATERIALS OR ANY OTHER ORAL STATEMENTS MADE. The property is being sold on an AS IS, WHERE IS basis, and no warranty or representation, either expressed or implied, concerning the property or matters relating to water or water rights by the seller or the auction company. All sketches and dimensions provided are approximate. Each potential bidder is responsible for conducting his or her own independent inspections, investigations, inquiries, and due diligence concerning the property. The information provided is subject to verification by all parties relying on it. No liability for its accuracy, errors, or omissions is assumed by the Seller or the Auction Company. Conduct of the auction and increments of bidding are at the direction and discretion of the Auctioneer. The Seller and Selling Agents reserve the right to preclude any person from bidding if there is any question as to the person’s credentials, fitness, etc. All decisions of the Auctioneer are final. AUCTIONEER RESERVES THE RIGHT TO WAIVE ANY AND ALL FORMALITIES OF SALE.

NEW DATA: Please arrive prior to the scheduled auction time to review any changes, corrections or additions to the property information.

NOTE: Videotaping, flash photography and/or public announcements will be allowed on auction day ONLY with prior approval from Musser Bros. Inc.

SELLER: Shelly Crocker as Court Appointed Receiver


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040414 Documents

2011 pesticide report
2012 pesticide report
2013 pesticide report
Historical Yields
Phase 1 ESA Report
Six Prong Irrigation Agreement
Water Rights Documents
Purchase and Sale Agreement
Parcel 1 V4
Parcel 2 V4
Parcel 3 V4
Parcel 4 V4

Residence Lease

Residence Lease