Altria Reaches Agreement to Sell Its Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Business

It’s not everyday you see a billion dollar wine deal.

But Chateau Ste. Michelle is not your typical family-owned business. The huge Washington-based wine producer has announced that it is selling to private equity firm Sycamore Partners (owner of consumer retail brands such as Ann Taylor, Staples, Talbots and Hot Topic). Net size is reported to be about $1.2 billion (USD) per the Seattle Times. More details of the all-cash transaction can be found in the official news release.

“We believe the Transaction is an important step in Altria’s value creation for shareholders and allows our management team greater focus on the pursuit of our Vision to responsibly transition adult smokers to a non-combustible future,” said Billy Gifford, Altria’s Chief Executive Officer. “Ste. Michelle and its talented employees have built an outstanding portfolio of premium wine brands, and we wish them future success.”

Chateau Ste. Michelle (a subsidiary owned by Altria Group, Inc.) is the third largest winery in the U.S. with 30,000 acres under management. In 2020 the company shipped 7.3 million cases of wine — down slightly year-over-year due to the pandemic. The winery was founded in 1954 as the American Wine Company.

A sampling of the wineries portfolio includes brands and labels such as:

  • Chateau Ste. Michelle
  • Columbia Crest
  • 14 Hands
  • Spring Valley Vineyard
  • Northstar
  • Red Diamond
  • Patz & Hall
  • Intrinsic
  • Erath

Altria said it expected to close the transaction with Sycamore in the second half of 2021.