Marchesi Antinori, the Italy-based wine supplier, has set up its own subsidiary to import wines into the US, its largest overseas market.

The family-owned wine group has established Vinattieri 1385 in Napa as its US import arm.

US wine company Ste. Michelle Wine Estates had been Marchesi Antinori’s importer and distributor in the US.

“This is one of the most important chapters in our history, together with the acquisition of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars,” Piero Antinori, the honorary president at Marchesi Antinori, said.

In May last year, the owner of the Antinori and Prunotto wine brands said it had struck a deal to buy California-based Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in full from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the majority shareholder in the winery.

While Marchesi Antinori confirmed the US is its largest export market, the company declined to disclose its sales in the country when approached by Just Drinks. The group’s said its biggest US states by sales are Florida, New York and California.

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By GlobalData

In 2023, the company’s group sales were €253m ($277.4m), up from €245m a year earlier and €213m in 2021.

“The United States is the world’s number one in terms of wine consumption, not only in terms of quantity but also in terms of value,” a spokesperson said. “The competitive set is crowded but there is definitely room for improvement in a market like the US where wine consumers are well educated to premium wines.

“In 2024, California will be our main priority but also New York, Texas, New Jersey and Florida.”

Paolo Battegazzore, a former marketing director at US wine importer Folio Fine Wine Partners, has been appointed CEO of Vinattieri 1385. The new subsidiary will employ around 30 staff.