Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has acquired the Oregon winery A to Z Wineworks.
This is the first strategic acquisition for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates under the ownership of private equity firm Sycamore Partners.
Together with Ste. Michelle’s Erath Winery, the addition of the A to Z and Rex Hill brands gives Ste. Michelle a larger presence in Oregon. Plans include becoming a leading producer of the state’s signature varietal, Pinot Noir.
“We are delighted to welcome A to Z to the Ste. Michelle family,” says David Dearie, president and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “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. We’re excited to introduce new consumers across the country and around the world to the full complement of our region’s outstanding wines.”
Amy Prosenjak, president and CEO of A to Z, will join Ste. Michelle as President of Oregon Brands, overseeing the company’s combined operations in the state.
“I’ve long admired Ste. Michelle’s leadership in the Pacific Northwest and their decades-long commitment to promoting the region’s wines,” says Prosenjak. “Bill Hatcher, who is retiring as Chairman of the Board for A to Z, gave me the great gift of mentorship over the years. With such deep roots, I look forward to joining David and the Ste. Michelle Senior Leadership Team, and together raising the bar even higher for Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.”
In addition to Prosenjak, A to Z Founding Partners Deb Hatcher, Cheryl Francis and Sam Tannahill will join Ste. Michelle as consultants. A to Z’s founding partners started the company 20 years ago.
“We could not have found a better partner than Ste. Michelle to carry on the legacy of both A to Z and Rex Hill,” says Hatcher. “They understand the Pacific Northwest better than anyone, and they know what it takes to promote an entire region on the global stage.”
A to Z became a certified B Corp in 2014 in recognition of its environmental practices.
BNP Paribas Securities Corp. served as financial advisor to A to Z. Bank of the West is continuing as the lender to both Ste. Michelle and A to Z. Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal counsel for Ste. Michelle and Tonkon Torp supported A to Z.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.