Willamette Valley started as a small family-owned winery, but grew as the idea of community ownership caught on with people all over the world. In fact, Willamette Valley lobbied the SEC to allow the idea of fractional ownership through stock purchases of the winery, allowing "owners" to take advantage of a number of privileges.
Today, it's estimated that the winery has over 24,000 "owners" - people who own at least 100 shares of the company's preferred stock. While there are no new shares of preferred stock available directly from the winery at this time, it is possible to get both preferred and common stock on secondary markets.
Up until recently, Willamette Valley only granted shareholder perks to owners with preferred stock. In the past several years, however, these benefits have been extended to owners with common stock.
Today, shareholders will need at least 100 shares of preferred or common stock.
The following perks are offered to anyone with 100 shares of stock or more.
- a discount of 25% off wine bottle purchases. There is no limit specified as to the amount of wine that can be purchased, but current owners have said that the discount seems to be meant for wine that is only for personal use.
- complimentary VIP winery tours (by appointment only up to four times per year)
- an annual complimentary Blending Experience at Willamette Wineworks in California
- priority to purchase limited-production wines, new releases, and wines with personalized labels. Again, quantities can be limited in some cases, and reselling is strongly discouraged.
- discounted admission to special events. Be sure to sign up for the e-mails to be notified of dates for these activities.
- invitations to owner-exclusive events.
- regular email updates on winery developments
- complimentary wine tasting at any winery locations, once a month
How to Redeem
To redeem most of the benefits, you will need to call or email the winery with proof of ownership and ask for the perk that you want to redeem. Purchasing wine and all tours and special events will require the shareholder to be present at a winery. At the present time, wineries are only open in California, with new wineries opening soon in Washington state.
Be aware that even after you confirm ownership of your shares, you can be asked at any time to resubmit proof of ownership.
What is the difference between preferred and common stock shareholder perks?
Until recently, shareholder rewards at Wilamette Valley were only available to owners with preferred stock . Today, however, there is no distinction between the two types of shareholder rewards that shareholders receive.
How is ownership verified?
Be prepared to show a brokerage statement showing ownership of at least 100 shares of stock. At the present time, there is no time limit or vesting period for how long a shareholder must own shares before they are able to qualify for the perks.
Are there additional perks for owning more than 100 shares?
Not currently. There is talk of expanding the ownership program to include new locations, however, and it is largely suspected that the ownership program will go through some changes as the new locations open up.