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EPI purchases Super Tuscan producer Isole e Olena

French luxury group EPI has bolstered its presence in Tuscany by purchasing Chianti Classico estate Isole e Olena for an undisclosed sum.

The De Marchi family established the 56ha estate back in 1956, and it is now firmly established as one of the region’s leading producers.

Isole e Olena played a key role in reviving the quality of Chianti in the 1970s, and its flagship wine – Cepparello, a barrique-aged Sangiovese from old vines – is regarded as one of the original Super Tuscans.

A Piedmont lawyer called Francesco De Marchi founded the business, but his visionary son – Paulo De Marchi – has driven its rise to prominence.

He is renowned for strict attention to detail in the vineyard and for his pioneering research, which has improved the performance of the region’s Sangiovese through massal selection and detailed mapping of its Galestro-driven soils.

‘After having devoted a large part of my life to Isole e Olena, I am pleased to see my estate now in the hands of a group that shares the values to which I am personally very attached: the transmission of know-how, the enhancement of terroirs, and the quest for excellence,’ he said.

EPI, short for Société Européenne de Participations Industrielles, is an investment company run by Christofer Descours. It covers fashion, wine and real estate.

The group owns Champagne Houses Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck and Rare Champagne, along with iconic names such as Chateau La Verrerie and Tardieu Lauren.

It made its first foray into Tuscany when it purchased Biondi-Santi in Montalcino in 2017.

‘It is a privilege to continue the remarkable work that Paolo De Marchi has accomplished during more than 40 years at Isole e Olena and for the Chianti Classico appellation,’ said Damien Lafaurie, chief executive of EPI Wine & Champagne.

‘We firmly believe in the growth potential of the finest Italian wines in major international markets and are determined to continue investing in the quality of our wines, our brands and our distribution networks, for them to gain global recognition as some of the very best wines in the world.’

Giampiero Bertolini, the chief executive at Biondi-Santi, will now serve as chief executive of Isole e Olena in a dual role.

Paolo De Marchi will stay on as winemaker, while also helping his son Luca run the family’s property in Lessona, Alto Piemonte, which is not part of the deal.

Descours, president of EPI Group, added: ‘We deeply respect Paolo De Marchi’s unique vision, operational excellence, and constant perseverance in producing the estate’s highly refined and authentic wines.

‘We intend to pursue Paolo De Marchi’s work, putting our passion for excellence and our experience on international markets, at the service of the unique wines of Isole e Olena.’

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