Under the Radar: Succession Wines

by | Aug 23, 2023

Editor’s note – Shortly after this story was published, Brock Lindsay passed away unexpectedly. It is a tragic loss for his family and the Chelan wine community. Our sympathies go out to all who were touched by Brock’s charm and caring personality.

Brock Lindsay has made a career of building things. First as a civil engineer building numerous large bridges throughout Washington state and, since 2015, building a legacy in the wine industry as owner/winemaker of Succession Wines, along with his wife Erica.

Brock Lindsay’s love affair with wine began while attending college in Rome, Italy. He became enamored with the “culture of wine” and how it brings people together. “I drank a lot of wine there — whether I was sitting in a piazza or having a meal, wine was always involved,” he reminisces. “It’s not about over-consumption. It’s about the celebration. It’s about food pairings. It really piqued my interest.

“I don’t think there’s another product in the world that has as long a history of bringing people together,” he continues. “If you’re going to sit down and have a bottle of wine, it’s [frequently] going to be to celebrate or share a meal.”

After receiving a degree in civil engineering, Lindsay built bridges by day (including the Peace Arch Bridge at the border between Washington and British Columbia). In his spare time, he began making wine from grape concentrate kits as a hobby. Lindsay is candid about that experience. “The wine was terrible,” he recalls. “It went right down the drain, but it taught me that good inputs equal good outputs and bad inputs equal bad outputs.”

While building a home near Lake Chelan, Wash., the Lindsays spent considerable time visiting wineries in the Lake Chelan AVA. “We kinda became wine bums and met with winemakers to develop a deeper appreciation for everything that goes into making wine.” Lindsay says.

By all accounts, 2014 should have been a year to celebrate. The Lindsays moved into their new home and welcomed their first child, Layla to the family. But good fortune turned into tragedy two weeks after Layla was born when the Carlton Complex wildfire (the largest in Washington history at the time) consumed their home and belongings. If that wasn’t enough upheaval, a month later Lindsay lost his job when his employer shut down.

Despite all the turmoil, the Lindsays persevered. They used it as an opportunity to re-imagine their lives. “We could have easily gotten back on the horse and continued in the corporate world, but we decided to put family first and start to build our legacy and shape it around wine,” Lindsay recounts. They leveraged the friendships they had developed with winemakers who offered to help them rebuild and start a wine business.

In 2015, Lindsay enrolled in the Washington State University Viticulture and Enology certificate program and started Succession Wines that same year near Manson, Washington. Since then, Succession has thrived by focusing primarily on 100% single varietal wines. They’ll be releasing their first estate Syrah later this year. In addition, in 2021 they purchased Alta Cellars located on the main drag in Manson. Between Succession and Alta, they are producing 9,000 cases a year.

Lindsay has incorporated wine into his family’s culture. His two daughters, Layla, age nine, and Reese, age seven, are growing up around wine. “While too young to taste, they enjoy smelling them,” he says. “They love to come to the winery and help seat people or serve water. Layla is hell-bent on becoming a winemaker and running the winery one day.”

Besides building a legacy, Lindsay is excited about the potential for Chelan AVA wines. “I want people to know there are great wines in Lake Chelan,” he says. “It’s no longer a lake destination that just happens to have wine. We’re turning it into a wine destination that happens to have a lake.”

Featured Wine

2021 Succession Wines Chenin Blanc | Columbia Valley AVA

Chenin Blanc is an underappreciated white wine. It used to be very popular but fell out of favor in the United States and was displaced by Chardonnay. Very little is produced in Washington, so it was a surprise to see it as part of Succession’s lineup. The wine was originally made for the assistant winemaker’s wedding, and it turned out so well that Lindsay decided to add it to the regular wine program. This 100% Chenin Blanc is a bright wine with a floral aroma and beautiful acidity. It’s a perfect “summer sipper” or paired with a light meal. Only 129 cases were produced.

$32 | 13.6% ABV


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