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Antinori to take full ownership of Col Solare in Washington State

Italian group Marchesi Antinori has said it will take full control of Washington State producer Col Solare after agreeing to buy out partner Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

Family-owned Antinori joined forces with Ste. Michelle to establish Col Solare as a 50-50 joint venture in Washington State in 1995.

They have collaborated on the project for the past 29 years, but the parties have now announced that Antinori will take full ownership of the estate.

Shawn Conway, CEO at Ste. Michelle, said: ‘It was a privilege when Ste. Michelle partnered with Piero Antinori three decades ago to create Col Solare and grow it into an elite Washington winery, and we are thrilled the Antinori family will carry this legacy into the future.

‘The fact that the Antinori family wants to grow its investment and commitment in Col Solare is a testament to the world-class quality, prestige and bright future of the Washington wine region.’

Altria Group sold Ste. Michelle to private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $1.2bn three years ago. The firm decided to offload some of Ste. Michelle’s assets, and Antinori emerged as a natural buyer.

In 2007, Ste. Michelle purchased an 85% stake in iconic Napa Valley winery Stag’s Leap, and Antinori acquired the remaining 15%.

They worked together for 16 years, but Antinori then became the sole owner of Stag’s Leap after purchasing Ste. Michelle’s 85% stake for an undisclosed sum last year.

At the time, family patriarch Piero Antinori said: ‘I have to thank Ste. Michelle Wine Estates for this great occasion that has been given to us.’

Antinori, a family-owned Tuscan producer that can trace its roots back to 1385, has now taken another opportunity after learning that Ste. Michelle was willing to sell its holding in Col Solare.

Piero Antinori, the president of Marchesi Antinori, said: ‘Our family has been fascinated by the unique terroir of Red Mountain AVA since the early 90s.

‘It’s an ongoing and exciting challenge for us to make Washington red wines distinctive and renowned for their high quality.

‘The full ownership of Col Solare, combined with the acquisition of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in 2023, in Napa Valley, is proof of how much we believe in these exceptional wine territories.’

Col Solare is Italian for ‘shining hill’. The winery is renowned for producing high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon.

Decanter’s US editor, Clive Pursehouse, described Col Solare’s 2019 Cabernet as ‘a study in refinement and elegance’ when he visited the winery in 2022.

The transaction is expected to complete this month, including the winery, the 12ha vineyard, the estate and the brand.

Ste. Michelle still owns Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14 Hands, Columbia Crest, Spring Valley Vineyard and Northstar in Washington State, plus A to Z, Erath and Rex Hill in Oregon, along with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte.


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