Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori to Buy Stag's Leap

Winemaker Warren Winiarski to stay on as advisor.

Woodinville, Washington-based Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Florence, Italy-based Marchesi Piero Antinori announced yesterday that they are acquiring Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in Napa in a joint venture partnership. Founding winemaker Warren Winiarski will remain in an advisory role for three years.

The $185 million sale includes the estate brand, the winery, and its signature vineyards S.L.V. and Fay.

"There are few opportunities in one's lifetime when such a rare site is available," said Piero Antinori, referring to the legacy of Stag's Leap, a producer of top-quality wines from historic Napa Valley vineyards. Ste. Michelle president Ted Baseler also stressed the importance of Stag's Leap's 30-plus years of winemaking, spurred on by pioneer vintner Winiarski. "Stag's Leap Wine Cellars perfectly fits our shared vision of producing wines from historic vineyard sites," he said.

Warren Winiarski was among the first visionaries to champion the Cabernet Sauvignon grape as perfectly suited to the Napa Valley. His 1973 Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon made history when it bested four top-ranked Bordeaux wines, including two First Growths, in the now legendary 1976 Paris tasting.

"Ted and Piero appreciate the unique, terroir-based characteristics of this estate . . ." said Winiarski. "and they understand its pivotal importance to Napa Valley's history, and its future."


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