Today Aquilini Wines announced the hiring of Will Beightol as vineyard manager. Beightol brings over 26 years of experience in the Washington wine industry to the position.
“We really wanted someone who has been in the eastern Washington community, knows Red Mountain, knows Horse Heaven Hills, and can represent us and increase our presence there,” says Laurie Peterson, VP of Operations at Aquilini Beverage Group. “We’re so excited to have him start.”
Raised in Prosser, Beightol graduated from Washington State University in 1996 with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in horticulture. He subsequently spent nearly nine years managing Zephyr Ridge Vineyards and Hogue Ranches in the Horse Heaven Hills. From there, Beightol worked almost 14 years as general manager at Double Canyon Vineyards. Owned by Napa Valley’s Crimson Wine Group, this included overseeing Double Canyon Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills as well as construction of the winery’s 50,000 case production facility in West Richland.
The son of renowned grower Dick Beightol, who passed away last year, Will started a consulting business, Collab Wine Co., in 2020 and has also served as an advisor to Metis, a Pacific Northwest-based mergers and acquisitions company, since that time. Taken altogether, he brings a rare combination of experience to his new position.
“If it’s a boardroom in New York or a boardroom in Vancouver or a vineyard in the middle of nowhere, I can do well in all of those situations,” Beightol says.
Beightol will oversee Aquilini’s holdings throughout the Columbia Valley. This includes 546 planted acres on Red Mountain (559 total), 463 planted in Horse Heaven Hills (1,121 total), and 104 planted acres in the larger Columbia Valley (158 total). He will continue to work with his family’s Phinny Hill Vineyards, located in the Horse Heavens.
“I see the properties that the Aquilini family have sitting right next to marquee vineyards in Washington State,” says Beightol. “There’s this opportunity to be unlocked.”
Aquilini entered the Washington wine industry in 2013, when they made the surprise purchase at auction of 617 acres of land for a reported $8.3M. 518 of those acres are on Red Mountain, one of Washington’s most highly regarded growing regions. This immediately made Aquilini the second largest land owner in the appellation, which is 4,040 total acres. (Shaw Vineyards is the largest.) Kennewick Irrigation District was the prior owner of the land.
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the company is part of the larger Aquilini Investment Group, founded by Luigi Aquilini in the 1960s. Aquilini Investment Group has diverse interests that include food and hospitality, farming, energy, sports and entertainment, and other businesses.
Beightol starts his new position on February 13th.
Image courtesy of Will Beightol. This article has been updated to add information about Phinny Hill Vineyards.