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WA Wine Mourns Industry Giant

Wednesday, 09 November 2022 19:41

TASTE News Service, November 9, 2022  – Allen Chester Shoup, Washington wine visionary who led the Washington wine industry through its formative years for two decades before establishing Long Shadows Vintners in 2002, passed away at home of natural causes on November 7, 2022, at the age of 79.

Shoup was a guiding force behind the growth of the Washington wine industry for more than 40 years. He began his wine career in Modesto, Calif. as a marketing director for E & J Gallo Wines in the mid-1970s before taking the career risk of a lifetime in 1980 to become Chateau Ste. Michelle's vice president of marketing in Woodinville, Wash. When he moved to Washington, Chateau Ste. Michelle was largely unknown and one of only a handful of wineries in Washington State. The year following his arrival at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Shoup boldly predicted Washington State's wine regions would become major tourist destinations and that within 10-15 years, the Pacific Northwest would be better known for red wines than white wines. Widely regarded as a creative marketer and dynamic industry leader, Shoup charted the course that would go a long way toward achieving his predictions.

Shoup served as president and CEO of Stimson Lane Vineyards & Estates, the wine company that included Chateau Ste. Michelle, from 1983 - 2000. During that time, he grew Chateau Ste. Michelle and its affiliate wineries into national brands. He developed such well-known Washington wines as Columbia Crest, Domaine Ste. Michelle, North Star, and Snoqualmie, along with Villa Mt. Eden and Conn Creek in Napa Valley, by focusing on quality winemaking and innovative viticultural practices.

Shoup arrived at Chateau Ste. Michelle convinced the path to elevate international regard for Washington State wines was through its vineyards. He hired Drs. Wade Wolfe and Walter Clore to draft an application to establish appellation status for the Columbia Valley, and the federal government granted the request in 1984. Shortly after that, Shoup worked to create the Washington Wine Commission, established by the state legislature in 1987. In 1988, he helped found the Auction of Washington Wines to raise awareness for the Columbia Valley while serving the community. Since its inception, the auction has raised $59 million in support of Seattle Children's and the Washington wine industry. Most notably, Allen furthered international attention to Washington vineyards by establishing Chateau Ste. Michelle's joint winemaking ventures with Tuscany's Piero Antinori to make Col Solare and Germany's Dr. Ernst Loosen to craft Eroica, an off-dry Riesling that sparked a Riesling renaissance in this country.

After retiring from Stimson Lane at the end of 2000, Shoup began work on Long Shadows, a project that combined his dedication to growing the global reputation of Washington wines with his lifelong ambition of creating a family-run winery. Shoup officially launched Long Shadows in 2002. It brought a dream team of internationally renowned vintners to the Columbia Valley to craft wine from their signature grape. The project was an immediate success, gaining critical acclaim and an enthusiastic following of wine lovers. Food & Wine magazine named Long Shadows "Winery of the Year" in 2007. 

One of the first partners to join Long Shadows was Shoup's friend and Napa Valley vintner Agustin Huneeus, Sr. "Allen was a brilliant and tireless champion of Washington State wines and Columbia Valley vineyards. He delighted in winning over those who questioned the potential of the growing region, and he liked nothing better than sharing a glass of wine with a Washington wine convert," said Huneeus. "He was to Washington wines what his friend and mentor Robert Mondavi was to Napa Valley."

A lifelong art patron and collector, Shoup found creative ways to combine the arts and wine. In 2007, he collaborated with his friend and international glass artist Dale Chihuly to bring a collection of glass art to Long Shadows' Walla Walla winery. The art remains on display in the Chihuly Tasting Room. In 1996, Shoup established Chateau Ste. Michelle's Artist Series, depicting Chihuly's work on the first vintage of the collection. At the same time, Shoup joined forces with the Pilchuck Glass School to establish the Libensky Award. Afterward, the winery featured the award recipient's work on the Artist Series label. Shoup was also a supporter of performing art and an active board member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet for many years.

Raised in Michigan, Shoup worked for Chrysler Automotive in Detroit before being drafted to serve for two years in the Army, working primarily at the Pentagon during the Vietnam war. After the Army, he took a position in product development at Amway, later working for Max Factor and E & J Gallo Wines in marketing. He served as communications director for Boise Cascade before moving to Washington State in 1980.          

Shoup is the recipient of numerous awards, including Robert Parker, Jr's Wine Personality of the Year, Puget Sound Business Journal's Lifetime Hall of Fame, Sunset magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award, Walter Clore Center's Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame and the American Wine Society Award of Merit, among others. 

In addition to serving on the boards of all the Washington wine industry groups he established, Shoup was actively involved on the boards of the American Vintners Association, Century Council, California Wine Institute, the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, and many others. 

He is survived by his wife Kathleen, son Ryan Shoup (Aubrey), stepson Dane Narbaitz (Sara), and three grandchildren.

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 November 2022 19:53

 

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