Sunny Parsons, owner of Vancouver’s Heathen Brewing, has acquired Village Vineyard in a transaction that became final on October 1.
The vineyard, which is located near Glenwood Heights Primary School and Laurin Middle School, was opened by Patti Kuni in July 2014. Not long after it opened, Kuni realized the daily decision-making and upkeep were not for her, and put the sprawling butter yellow Victorian up for sale.
Two years later, local brewmaster Parsons has secured the 5,000-square-foot house, its 20 acres crowned with vines and is renaming it Heathen Estate.
“Heathen Brewing still operates out of the old horse barn located on (my) personal residence,” said Parsons. “This modest brewery in (my) front yard has been producing award-winning brews for over four years now. A long search for what I refer to as the ‘fermentation block’ is happening now; only difference is that it was going to be on a city block.”
Referring to Heathen Estate as the country cousin to their Feral Public House in downtown Vancouver, Parsons has exciting plans for the land and its infrastructure.
During the sale of the property, work had ceased on a full-scale event center/winery building located just down the hill from the main house. With his purchase, Parsons acquired all the groundwork that had been laid including plumbing, electrical and hooking up to city water and sewer.
The initial architectural rendering showed a two-story structure that would house a full-production winery, tasting room, commercial kitchen and balcony space for special-event wine tasting. A brick pizza oven and barbecue structure accented by a permanent, covered outdoor seating area completed the previous owners’ concept.
Parsons’ vision is to add a 9,000-square-foot building that will ultimately be used to craft wine, cider and beer. This space will consist of three levels and be open to the public for exploring the craft world.
While Heathen touches will be evident throughout the estate, some things will remain the same. The main house (aka the Halo House) will be set aside for private events – much as it’s been utilized for the last two years. The previous winemaker, facilities manager and event manager will stay on under Parsons’ ownership.
Andy Thomas hails from Salem’s Ankeny Vineyard and is a 2005 graduate of The Institute for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College. He oversaw the harvesting of nearly eight acres of estate chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir and pinot gris this year as well as crafting the eight wines that Village opened with in 2014.
Husband and wife duo, Dave and Sheila Owens, have managed the day-to-day operations of the property since its inception and Parsons said he is happy to have them on board as walking diaries on this acquisition journey.
As all the details are worked out, expect Heathen Estate to be geared toward private events throughout the winter with regular tasting room hours by early spring of 2017.
“The real fun will begin as the fermentation science cross pollinates between vintner to brewer,” Parsons said. “[I hope the two businesses] can learn from each other and create new variations of wine, beer and cider that will not conform but rather re-define products in each category. Progressive fermented beverages for the promiscuous palate doesn’t roll off the tongue, but still may have some truth to it.”
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.