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Antinori takes control of Washington State winery, Col Solare

Marchesi Antinori, one of Italy’s oldest family-owned fine wine producers, has acquired full ownership of Washington State’s Col Solare from Ste Michelle Wine Estate (SMWE). 

Red Mountain AVA, Washington (stock image)

The family-owned company, which traces its roots back to the 14th century, stablished Col Solare back in 1995 as a 50-50 joint-ventures with Ste-Michelle Wine Estate. The two companies have worked together since then to establish the estate’s wines, building a dedicated winery and planting the estate vineyard on Red Mountain in 2006.

The sale comprises the winery and estate, including around 12 hectares of vineyard which are mostly planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, and the brand itself, which produces around 5,000 bottles a year.

Piero Antinori, the president of Marchesi Antinori, said the family had been “fascinated by the unique terroir of Red Mountain AVA since the early 90s”, calling it “an ongoing and exciting challenge for us to make Washington red wines distinctive and renowned for their high quality.”

Speaking to the North West Wine report, Juan Muñoz-Oca, chief operating officer of Antinori USA (and until February 2023, chief winemaker at SMWE) added that. “The fact that Piero Antinori feels like this is a gem that he wants within his family, I think it speaks volumes to what Washington has done, especially as it relates to luxury wines.”

The new acquisition comes a year after the Italian producer took on full ownership of Napa’s Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars another partnership between Antinori and Ste. Michelle Wine Estate. The deal saw Antinori boost its stake from 15% to 100%, taking on Ste Michelle original 85% stake in the business. It comes after the US wine company was sold to a private equity firm, New York based Sycamore Partners, in July 2021 for US$1.2billion.  Since then they have decided to refocus their attention on the Pacific Northwest, calling it “where the future of our company lies”.

Speaking about the latest divestment, Lynda Eller, senior director of communications & corporate affairs at SMWE added that it would allows Ste. Michelle to “increase focus, energy and investment in our existing luxury wine endeavors such as Spring Valley Vineyards, Northstar, Eroica, the Chateau Ste. Michelle reserve tier wines, and Rex Hill in Oregon, as well future new luxury wine projects.”

In addition to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar, Antinori also own Antica, a 200-hectare wine estate in Napa, since 1993, one of the the only Italian wine-producer to own a winery in Napa.

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