Sam Tannahill of A to Z Wineworks stated in a 2021 interview that “it’s a little surprising there hasn’t been a large acquisition on the winery side in Oregon” recently. He also noted the growing investor interest in the Oregon wine industry.
That has changed as a result of a significant choice made by Tannahill and his co-founders at A to Z.
They sold A to Z, one of Oregon’s largest wineries, to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the industry behemoth based in Woodinville, Washington, in a deal that made headlines on Wednesday afternoon.
The transaction’s terms were kept a secret.
A to Z joins Erath Winery in Ste. Michelle’s Oregon stable along with its Rex Hill brand. Amy Prosenjak, the chief executive of A to Z, will serve as president of Oregon Brands.
Tannahill, Cheryl Francis, Deb Hatcher, and Bill Hatcher—all veterans of the Oregon wine industry—founded A to Z twenty years ago. It became the “Essence of Oregon” and increased production to over 350,000 cases annually, selling bottles for less than $20 on average. According to Prosenjak, the agreement will enable A to Z to advance significantly.
Bigger can be better has always been one of A to Z’s catchphrases, she said. In comparison to many smaller wineries in Oregon, we are distinctive and have always followed that business model. And in the following chapter, we’ll repeat that.
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