The tricolor flag stands tall in Napa Valley as Marchesi Antinori has successfully completed the acquisition of full ownership of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in California. This acquisition comes after a 16-year partnership with the American company, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is considered one of the most important wineries in the Napa Valley area of California. Founded in 1970 by Warren Winiarski, the estate is globally renowned for its production of outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon.
“We are proud of this operation,” emphasized Renzo Cotarella, CEO of Marchesi Antinori, “because it grants us a significant presence in the United States, the world’s largest wine market, not only in terms of quantity but also in value, through one of the most iconic and representative companies in the Napa Valley. It sends a powerful message not only to the wine industry but also to many Italian companies and excellence: they can be ambitious enough to undertake operations of this kind.”
INTESA SANPAOLO SUPPORTING SME DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
This deal was made possible with the use of their own resources, the participation of Simest and the Venture Capital Fund of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital of the American company. Intesa Sanpaolo played a predominant role in providing financial support and also acted as the lead bank. Intesa Sanpaolo established a dedicated operational unit that involves collaboration between the Imi Corporate & Investment Banking Division and the Banca dei Territori Division. This operation aligns with Intesa Sanpaolo’s project to support Italian agri-food SMEs in Italy and abroad through an advanced model of the relationship between the bank and businesses, involving shared planning and innovative financial instruments.
“Our choice to support this project,” noted Stefano Barrese, Head of the Banca dei Territori Division at Intesa Sanpaolo, “is based on the belief that Italy has an extraordinary heritage in the agri-food sector, particularly in the world of wine, with unique aspects related to the territory and the technical, operational, and strategic growth of businesses. We support the sector with over 12 billion euros in financing and believe that this synergy between the territory and values can find a perfect synthesis in agribusiness, but can effectively expand to many companies operating in various sectors.”
THE CENTRAL ROLE OF ITALIAN WINE IN INTERNATIONAL MARKETS
According to data from Intesa Sanpaolo’s Studies Office, Italian wine exports in 2022 increased by 9.8% in current values (with stable quantities), reaching nearly 7.9 billion euros. The United States is the top commercial destination for Italian wines, with almost 1.9 billion euros in 2022 (an 8.3% increase), followed by Germany with approximately 1.2 billion euros (a 4.8% increase), and the United Kingdom with over 800 million euros (a 9.4% increase). The strength of the territories and the quality of the Italian agri-food offer are evidenced by the 879 PDO/PGI certifications in Italy (second only to France with 750 certifications), including 526 certifications for wines (with France having 437). Furthermore, more than 75% of the national vineyard is covered by over 80 grape varieties, a number far exceeding the two main competitors, France and Spain, which have less than 15.