Allen Shoup, 79, Dies; Played Key Role in Washington Wine for Over 40 Years

Shoup was a guiding force behind the growth of the Washington wine industry for more than 40 years. He began his wine career 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 unknown, and there were only a handful of wineries in the state. The following year, 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. Widely regarded as a creative and dynamic industry leader, Shoup charted the course that would go a long way towards achieving his predictions.

Shoup served as president and CEO of Stimson Lane Vineyards & Estates, the 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, and North Star and furthered international attention to Washington by establishing 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.

Shoup was convinced the path to building regard for Washington State wines was through its growing region. He led the effort to gain appellation status for the Columbia Valley, helped establish the Washington Wine Commission and created the Auction of Washington Wines.

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 dream of creating a family-run winery. It brought celebrated international 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.

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 wine and art. 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. He was an active board member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet for many years.

Shoup is the recipient of numerous awards. In addition to serving on the boards of the various Washington wine groups he established, he was actively involved in several other industry boards including the American Vintners Association and California Wine Institute.

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