Vinification is the process that transforms the grapes into wine. The process of vinification differ from region to region, financial state of the winery and the grape types. The harvesting time and the type of oak used for aging are based on the region in which the wine grapes are grown.

Wine making process involves the following stages:

  • The first step in wine making process is Harvesting or Picking. Grapes should be harvested at the right time in order to make good wine. Harvesting can be done either mechanically or by hand.
  • The process of separating the grapes from the stems and cluster parts is called Destemming. Some of the wine makers keep some fragments of the stem to increase the wine tannin.
  • After destemming the grapes are crushed to extract the juice from the skin. This is done before the fermentation process begins. In the olden days bare feet is used to extract the grape juice, now a day machines like crushers are used.
  • Separation of grape juice and the skin is named as pressing. After crushing the grape juice will flow freely, selected wineries use pressers to make sure maximum juice is released.
  • Once the grapes are pressed they are introduced into the process of fermentation. During this process the grape juice are converted into alcoholic beverage. The yeast interacts with the sugar in the grape juice and converts them into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
  • Once the wine is purified and refined, they are preserved with sulfur dioxide or potassium sorbate. During the natural process of fermentation a minimum amount of sulfites are produced, but more is added for the use of commercial preservation.
  • Wines are aged for a particular amount of time to get more welcoming wine. Once after purification, the wines are moved to wooden barrels for aging. Metal vats, concrete vats and glass carboys are also used in some cases to increase the flavor.
  • After aging, the wines are bottled. During the process of bottling a final dose of sulfite is added to the wine to prevent it from uninvited fermentation in the bottle. The bottles are then sealed with cork and screw caps.
Chateau Ste Michelle in Washington, which was set to be sold in 2021.
Chateau Ste Michelle in Woodinville, Washington.

Deal agreed for Ste Michelle, a major force in Washington wine and which acquired Stag's Leap Wine Cellars with Antinori in 2007...

The post Ste Michelle Wine Estates to be sold for $1.2bn in US appeared first on Decanter.


Chateau Ste Michelle in Washington, which was set to be sold in 2021.
Chateau Ste Michelle in Woodinville, Washington.

Deal agreed for Ste Michelle, a major force in Washington wine and which acquired Stag's Leap Wine Cellars with Antinori in 2007...

The post Ste Michelle Wine Estates to be sold for $1.2bn in US appeared first on Decanter.

Chateau Ste Michelle in Washington, which was set to be sold in 2021.
Chateau Ste Michelle in Woodinville, Washington.

Private equity firm Sycamore Partners has agreed to buy Ste Michelle Wine Estates for $1.2bn in cash, plus ‘the assumption of certain liabilities’, Altria has announced.

If approved by regulators, it will mark the sale of the one of the largest US wine producers.

Ste Michelle is a major player on the Washington State wine scene, with brands including 14 hands and Chateau Ste Michelle, but also has several partnerships and distribution deals.

In 2007, Ste Michelle and Italy’s Antinori bought Napa Valley’s Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, a previous winner at the celebrated 1976 Judgement of Paris.

According to Altria’s most recent annual report, Ste Michelle has an 85% stake in Michelle-Antinori LLC, which in turn owns Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

Altria said the sale of Ste Michelle Wine Estates was expected to complete in the second half of 2021 and was an important step in creating value for its own shareholders.

The tobacco giant oversaw a ‘strategic reset’ of the Ste Michelle wine business last year.

Surplus wine stocks and lower consumer demand led to Altria reporting a $292m one-time charge in its wine division in the first quarter of 2020, to ‘write off inventory’. It reported a separate $100m charge based on estimated losses linked to ‘future non-cancelable grape purchase commitments’, according to notes in Altria’s financial statements.

The firm also warned of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumer demand for wines produced and distributed by Ste Michelle.

There have been signs of improvement more recently. Altria reported that its wine arm saw net sales of $150m for the first three months of 2021, up on $146m in the same period of 2020. Pre-tax profits in wine were $18m for the first quarter of 2021.

David Dearie, who became Ste. Michelle’s president and CEO in late 2020, said he was positive about the future following the sale agreement with Sycamore.

‘The Ste. Michelle leadership team and I look forward to working with the team at Sycamore Partners and believe we are well-positioned to drive the next phase of our growth.’

Billy Gifford, Altria’s CEO, said, ‘Ste. Michelle and its talented employees have built an outstanding portfolio of premium wine brands, and we wish them future success.’


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The post Ste Michelle Wine Estates to be sold for $1.2bn in US appeared first on Decanter.


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Each wine is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character.
Each wine is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character.
Winemakers all over the world are combining wine making traditions of millennia with innovative approaches and ideas, to address consumer demand for high quality products and a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
Winemakers all over the world are combining wine making traditions of millennia with innovative approaches and ideas, to address consumer demand for high quality products and a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

Laurel Gray Vineyards

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