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C&C group adds Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Published:  31 August, 2023

Pacific Northwest producer Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has appointed C&C group to distribute its portfolio in the UK. 

Bibendum, the premium wine specialist arm of C&C group, will sell Chateau Ste. Michelle, Col Solare, A-Z, Erath, Rex Hill and Patz & Hall. 

Meanwhile, Columbia Crest and 14 Hands will be available through Matthew Clark, C&C’s drinks wholesaler. 

Several wines will also be available to multiple grocers through Bibendum Off Trade and to independent merchants through Walker & Wodehouse.   

The news comes after Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (SMWE), which accounts for more than half of the production in Washington State, is cutting grape contracts with local growers by 40% in the next three years.

The company also moved production of its 14 Hands wines from its Prosser winery to its heritage Columbia Crest winery for the 2023 harvest, to further consolidate costs.

SMWE has heavily invested in the Wine Science Centre at Washington State University since 2015, where it is focusing on promoting premium Washington wines and investing for the future. It also developed and shared sustainable viticulture across the company’s 11 wineries, which harvest grapes from more than 2,150 company-owned acres in Washington and Oregon. 

Harriet Kininmonth, wine trading director at C&C group said: “To have such a well-respected and celebrated wine company join our portfolio is an honour and we are excited to be adding their exceptional wines, which we have always admired, to our unrivalled portfolio in the on-trade. 

“As the leading drinks distributor to the UK on-trade, we are well positioned to deliver strong sales and growth for their fantastic range of premium wineries, whilst giving our customers access to an even stronger portfolio of wines. We can’t wait to embark on this journey together.” 

Dan Heller, executive VP of sales, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to partner with C&C group the largest drinks wholesaler in the United Kingdom.

“We’re thrilled to add our core brands to their portfolio and look forward to a strategic partnership with this team to introduce world-class Ste. Michelle wines to the UK consumer.”