On December 30th, Walla Walla Valley’s Basel Cellars was purchased by a group of local businessmen. The group includes individuals who founded Crossbuck Brewing and Walla Walla Valley Steak Company in 2018.
Dan Thiessen, managing partner at Walla Walla Steak Company and Crossbuck Brewing and also part of the new ownership group, says the immediate plan will be to continue operating the property as a wine country lodging and event location with the goal of “driving the hospitality experience.”
“We’re hospitality driven, so that’s what we want to focus on,” Thiessen says.
The expansive, 83-acre property includes 27 acres of vineyards, a winery, an event venue, and vacation rentals. In addition to its continued use as a lodging and event location, further plans are being developed for additional winery and hospitality expansion.
“We want to maximize the entertainment component of that property,” Thiessen says.
Additional members of the ownership group include Paul Mackay, founder of El Gaucho Hospitality, which includes the restaurants El Gaucho
and AQUA by El Gaucho
; Philip Christofides, partner at Walla Walla Steak Company and Crossbuck Brewing; Scott Clark, principal at Clark Property Development; and Chad Mackay, CEO of Fire and Vine Hospitality
, which includes the recently constructed Eritage Resort
in Walla Walla. All five are equal partners.
The Basel Cellars estate house was originally completed in 1997 as a private residence before being acquired and converted into a winery in 2002. Vancouver’s Steve and Jo Marie Hansen became part owners in 2004 and sole owners in 2011 before selling the property last week. The purchase includes the Basel Cellars brand, inventory, and equipment. Northwest-based METIS
served as the transactional adviser.
Thiessen calls the southside property a “gem” with potential to significantly impact the valley’s hospitality experience.
“There’s a tremendous opportunity,” he says. “I get tingles thinking about where this thing is going to be in five or ten years.”