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Ste Michelle CEO Jim Mortensen retires

Published:  28 October, 2020

Washington State winery Ste Michelle Wine Estates has announced that its president and CEO Jim Mortensen will retire 1 November, 2020.

Mortensen said his decision to retire would allow him to pursue “ventures and passions” he had set aside a few years ago.

“I am immensely proud of the work this organisation has accomplished. Our team made great strides in modernising infrastructure, establishing e-commerce and omnichannel marketing, crafting innovative products, and earning high acclaim for our wine,” he said.

David Dearie, whose career includes leadership positions at Treasury Wine Estates where he served as CEO and MD ANZ for Fosters Wine Group, has been appointed to succeed Mortensen. 

Moreover, Dearie spent more than a decade in senior executive roles at Brown-Forman Corporation, including MD of Brown-Forman Beverages for Western Europe and Africa, and as president and COO of Brown-Forman Wine Group.

Deary said he was “honoured” to lead Ste Michelle in the next phase of its journey. 

“Ste Michelle Wine Estates is renowned for its outstanding portfolio of premium wine brands, crafted and built by a dedicated and highly motivated team of professionals. I’m excited to work with the team in growing Ste Michelle’s wonderful portfolio of brands and I would like to thank Jim for his great stewardship of the company and wish him a happy and healthy retirement,” he said.  

In January, Peter Click joined Ste Michelle as vice president of international sales.

Ste Michelle’s Washington portfolio includes: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, 14 Hands, Col Solare, Northstar, Spring Valley Vineyard, Merf, Intrinsic, Seven Falls and Michelle sparkling wines. 

In California, the company owns Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (with Italy’s Antinori family), Conn Creek (Napa Valley), and Patz & Hall (Sonoma). 

Ste Michelle also owns Erath, in Dundee, Oregon. The company became the exclusive US importer in 2006 for the Marchesi Antinori wine portfolio of Italy and Chile’s Haras de Pirque wines, for Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte of France in 2009, and for New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate in 2010.