Qupé gets new home as Vintage Wine Estates buys Laetitia

Vintage Wine Estates has bought Pinot Noir and sparkling producer Laetitia winery in California's Central Coast, in a move that will also create a new base for recently acquired Qupé wines.

Vintage Wine Estates has bought the 800-hectare Laetitia winery estate in the Arroyo Grande Valley AVA for an undisclosed fee.

The deal includes Laetitia’s 275 hectares (680 acres) of vineyards, as well as wine stocks, the winery, tasting room and guest house, Vintage Wine Estates (VWE) said.

It is the latest in a string of Central Coast buys for VWE that has recently included Qupé and Alloy Wine Works, plus Clayhouse Wines in 2016.

‘We are strongly committed to the Central Coast winegrowing region, and Laetitia will be the home and hub of our Central Coast production and operations moving forward,’ said VWE’s chief executive, Pat Roney.

A spokesperson for VWE confirmed to Decanter.com that Qupé wines will be made at Laetitia. Qupé founder Bob Lindquist said earlier this year that he would no longer be involved in winemaking for the label, which was bought by VWE in late 2018.

The VWE spokesperson added that the group was open to more winery purchases. ‘VWE is always looking for the right opportunity to grow and add value to our portfolio so more acquisitions may be expected at some point down the road.’

Laetitia began life in the 1980s as a producer of traditional method sparkling wines, but has since added a strong reputation for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Its wines mostly sell for between $25 and $60-a-bottle.

Its current head winemaker, Eric Hickey, will stay on as a member of the VWE winemaking team. Hickey began working with Laetitia at the age of 16 in 1985, three years after the first vines were planted.

Arroyo Grande Valley is one of California’s smaller American Viticultural Areas (AVA) and lies in San Luis Obispo County, close to the border with Santa Barbara.

Fog and cooling breezes from the Pacific ocean have helped to make parts of the AVA well-known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Warmer, inland parts of the AVA are better known for Rhône grape varieties and also Zinfandel.