Washington State’s wine industry has benefited unprecedented growth for the past 30 years and in the United States, is now the second largest producer of premium wines. It’s not shocking, then, that here, in the commended growing region of the Columbia Valley, with a collection of seven ultra-premium wines produced from local grapes by the finest winemakers in the world, one would find Long Shadows Vintners.
The Long Shadows, established in 2003 by Washington State wine pioneer, Allen Shoup, the vision was inspired by Napa Valley vintner Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, who teamed up in the late 1970s to unite old world and new world wine styles into one grand wine, Opus One. 1979 is the year the first vintage was released, and the wine has been a shining star in Napa Valley since then.
Shoup initiated a partnership with Piero Antinori while at Ste. Michelle, the driving force behind one of Italy’s biggest triumphant stories, Marchesi Antinori Wines. The team-up, which led together choice Columbia Valley fruit and 26 generations of Antinori winemaking, created a world-class Cabernet Sauvignon-based red wine, Col Solare (“shining hill” in Italian).
In 2000, when Shoup left Chateau Ste. Michelle, he already had a perspective for Long Shadows and set about making that vision in actuality. He had access to extraordinary talent, with his over 23 years in the wine industry, – he’d started his wine career in selling with E & J Gallo Winery, and pleasured in a lifelong friendship with both Ernest Gallo and the late Robert Mondavi. Of whom he considered his mentor, Mondavi – concurred to be the first Long Shadows partner but didn’t continue to carry out that pledge. So, with a 20-year history of incredible success at Chateau Ste. Michelle and its associated wineries, he had unfolded an international reputation — among growers as well as wineries — and thus was able to enlist some of the world’s most expert winemakers to join him in presenting the best of Washington State’s grapes.
Shoup opened Long Shadows Vintners in Walla Walla in 2003, named for “the long shadows cast by the industry inspirations who travel to Washington to create wine here and shed light on the Columbia Valley’s world-class vineyards.” In 2006, a modern facility was built and established. Shoup’s team of seven winemakers, each an owner-partner, began concocting wines in their signature styles, using the finest grapes explicitly picked from the Columbia Valley.