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September 9, 2022

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates snaps up fellow US winemaker A to Z Wineworks

The Washington state winery has bolstered its presence in neighbouring Oregon.

By Dean Best

US wine group Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has moved to expand its presence in Oregon with the acquisition of A to Z Wineworks.

The deal, struck for an undisclosed sum, is the first Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has made since being bought by private-equity firm Sycamore Partners Management last year.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates already has a presence in Oregon with its Erath winery.

“Erath and A to Z share the same passion for producing high-quality wines at fair prices, making A to Z a natural fit for Ste. Michelle. The future of Pacific Northwest wines – both Oregon and Washington – is bright,” David Dearie, the president and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, said.

The combined business will give Ste. Michelle Wine Estates a bigger position in Pinot Noir, Oregon’s flagship wine variety.

A to Z Wineworks was set up 20 years ago by Deb Hatcher, Cheryl Francis and Sam Tannahil, who will all join Ste. Michelle Wine Estates as consultants.

Hatcher said A to Z Wineworks “could not have found a better partner”. She added: “They understand the Pacific Northwest better than anyone, and they know what it takes to promote an entire region on the global stage.”

Sycamore Partners paid US tobacco group Altria US$1.2bn to buy Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in a deal announced in July 2021.

Set up in 1934, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is the largest winery in the Pacific Northwest, farming across more than 30,000 acres in  Washington, Oregon and California. It distributes its wines in over 100 countries.

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