Col Solare, Red Mountain copyright Richard DuvalFamed Italian producer Marchesi Antinori has purchased Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’ (SMWE) stake in the Washington winery Col Solare. The news was announced in a press release by the two wineries today. Antinori and SMWE had previously co-owned the venture in a 50/50 partnership. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

“The fact that Piero Antinori feels like this is a gem that he wants within his family, I think it speaks volumes to what Washington has done, especially as it relates to luxury wines,” says Juan Muñoz-Oca, chief operating officer of Antinori USA. (Muñoz-Oca was chief winemaker at SMWE until February of 2023.) “Presenting the Col Solare wines alongside the wines that we’re making in Napa, which are historic and iconic, and the ones we’re making in Italy which are iconic as well, I think that’s where Washington belongs.”

The sale includes the Col Solare winery and tasting room on Red Mountain as well as the 26-acre vineyard surrounding the winery. The brand, wine inventory, and intellectual property were also included in the sale. Col Solare makes approximately 5,000 cases annually.

“This sale allows Ste. Michelle to increase focus, energy and investment in our existing luxury wine endeavors such as Spring Valley Vineyards, Northstar, Eroica, the Chateau Ste. Michelle reserve tier wines, and Rex Hill in Oregon, as well future new luxury wine projects,” says Lynda Eller, senior director of communications & corporate affairs at SMWE. “Of course, this is in addition to our core portfolio of leading Pacific Northwest wineries including Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14 Hands, Erath and A to Z.” The Col Solare Bottega at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville will close June 30th.

Muñoz-Oca says there will be no other immediate changes at Col Solare. “We’re keeping the entire team. Nothing of consequence will change anytime soon, other than how we present the wines becomes our responsibility. We will also start driving the style of the wine, which previously used to be a 50/50 discussion.”

Antinori and SMWE’s third transaction

This is the third transaction between SMWE and Antinori in the last thirteen months. In May of last year, SMWE sold its stake in Napa Valley’s Stag’s Leap to Antinori, which the two wineries had co-owned. In February of this year, SMWE quietly sold Napa Valley’s Conn Creek winery and vineyards to Antinori. The Conn Creek brand was subsequently sold to Third Leaf.

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This article has been updated. 

Image of Col Solare by Richard Duval. 

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