NEWBERG, Ore. — In a 2021 interview, A to Z Wineworks’ Sam Tannahill noted the growing investor interest in the Oregon wine industry and commented that “it’s a little surprising there hasn’t been a large acquisition on the winery side in Oregon” in recent years.
That’s changed, thanks to a momentous decision by Tannahill and his cofounding partners at A to Z.
In a blockbuster deal announced Wednesday afternoon, they’ve sold A to Z, one of Oregon’s biggest wineries, to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the Woodinville, Washington-based industry giant.
Terms of the transaction were not revealed.
A to Z, along with its Rex Hill brand, joins Erath Winery in Ste. Michelle’s Oregon stable, which will be led by A to Z chief executive Amy Prosenjak as president of Oregon Brands.
A to Z was founded 20 years ago by Tannahill, Cheryl Francis, Deb Hatcher and Bill Hatcher, all Oregon wine veterans. It grew to over 350,000 annual cases calling itself the “Essence of Oregon” and typically selling at under $20 a bottle. Prosenjak said the deal will allow A to Z to take another big step.
“One of the taglines of A to Z has always been bigger can be better,” she said. “We’re unique here in Oregon, compared to a lot of smaller-sized wineries, and have always operated under that model. And we're going to do that again in this next chapter.”
The strategy also marks a bold play by Ste. Michelle. For more on the biggest Oregon wine deal in years, visit the Portland Business Journal.