Brock Lindsay, winemaker and co-owner of Succession Wines and Alta Cellars in the Lake Chelan appellation, died August 26th due to traumatic injuries caused by a utility vehicle rollover accident. He was 40-years old.
“It is an immeasurable loss for his family, friends, employees, and the entire Lake Chelan community,” Succession and Alta said in a joint statement.
Succession Wines was literally born from fire. In 2014, two weeks after the birth of Brock and his wife Erica’s first child, the family lost their home in the Carlton Complex Fire. Shortly thereafter, Brock learned that the company he worked for was shutting down. With the fire and job loss, however, came an opportunity for reevaluation.
“These things happen in life, and it’s not a time to go ‘I don’t want to keep on going,’” Lindsay told Jeff Bradford in the 2019 video Building a New Life After Losing Everything: The Story of Succession Winery. “It’s time to go, ‘Let’s look and see what change and opportunity can come about this.’”
The couple subsequently founded Succession Wines. It went on to become one of the most exciting young wineries in the Lake Chelan appellation.
Brock W. Lindsay was born December 8, 1982 in Seattle, Washington. In 2006, Lindsay graduated from Montana State University-Bozeman with a degree in civil engineering.
Lindsay went on to work for Highmark Concrete Contractors as a structural engineer and project manager. He was involved in numerous bridge construction projects throughout Washington. In 2009, Lindsay married Erica Griffin.
While studying abroad in Rome, Italy, Lindsay became interested in wine. He went on to become a home winemaker. After the fire, the couple decided to pursue their dream of starting a winery.
In 2015, Lindsay enrolled in Washington State University’s viticulture and enology certificate program. Erica’s family has a summer home in the Lake Chelan area, and the couple had long visited wineries there. In 2016, they opened Succession Wines in Manson, Washington, overlooking Lake Chelan.
“We chose our name as a testament to our humble beginnings and as a reminder that amazing things can happen when you treat adversity as an opportunity,” the Lindsays say on the winery’s website.
Succession makes a diverse array of red and white wines. Fruit sources include top sites: Conner Lee, Quintessence, Candy Mountain, Ancient Stones, Weinbau, Bacchus, Solaksen, and others. While the winery largely uses fruit from outside the Lake Chelan appellation, Lindsay was bullish on the region and part of a small wave of new producers there determined to raise the bar.
“I’m really excited about the Lake Chelan AVA,” Lindsay told Bradford in 2019. “We’re really starting to make a name for ourselves.”
In 2020, the Lindsays were approached by the owners of Alta Cellars, also in Manson, about purchasing the winery. The Lindsays had been wine club members for years, and Brock assumed the role of winemaker after the purchase.
One of Washington’s youngest growing regions with its first modern-day vinifera plantings in 1998, the Lake Chelan appellation is home to over 40 wineries and tasting rooms. Chelan and Manson have a population of approximately 5,800 people year-round, though both areas swell to many times that during the summer tourist season. It is a small, tight-knit valley, where Lindsay’s loss will be deeply felt.
In addition to his wife, Brock leaves two daughters, ages nine and seven. The full statement by Succession Wines and Alta Cellars is below.
Statement from Succession Wines and Alta Cellars:
With heavy hearts and profound sadness, we share the untimely and tragic passing of Brock Lindsay, beloved winemaker and co-owner of Succession Wines and Alta Cellars. It is an immeasurable loss for his family, friends, employees, and the entire Lake Chelan community.
Brock’s passion for winemaking and community was evident in the award-winning wines he crafted, his joy in bringing people together, and his deep appreciation and celebration of the Lake Chelan region. His infectious enthusiasm, warm personality, and generosity touched the lives of many, leaving an indelible mark on Chelan and beyond that will be remembered for generations to come.
First and foremost, Brock was a loving and dedicated husband and father. Our thoughts are with his wife, Erica, and daughters, Layla and Reese. Let us remember Brock’s contributions to the wine industry and honor the legacy he leaves behind.
This article has been updated.
Image of Brock Lindsay, Succession Wines in 2019 © Richard Duval.
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