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Allegrini 2018
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Epi acquires Isole and Olena, iconic Chianti Classico estate

After Biondi-Santi in Montalcino in 2017, French luxury group Epi strengthens its presence in Italy with another historic Tuscan estate

Epi, an independent family group owned and managed by Christofer Descours, announces today (WineNews anticipated the news, internationally, last night, ed.) “that it has acquired from Paolo De Marchi and family the Isole e Olena estate, one of the most important wineries in Chianti Classico” (a major deal, the value of which, according to an estimate by WineNews, is expected to be around 25/30 million euros, ed.). Founded in 1956 by the De Marchi family, Isole e Olena is located in San Donato in Poggio (Chianti Classico); the estate is renowned for being part of the select group of wineries that in the 1970s and 1980s led to the recognition of Chianti Classico as a high-quality wine region.
“Isole e Olena has earned”, continues the press note from the French Epi group, “a reputation for elegance and authenticity in Chianti Classico, thanks to the vision of Paolo De Marchi, his research and work in the field. Paolo De Marchi was a pioneer in vineyard studies and experiments with the clear objective of enhancing the terroir, improving the performance of native grape varieties, mainly Sangiovese, through mass selection and detailed mapping of its marl-rich soils. Under his guidance, “Cepparello” was born, one of the first Supertuscans that immediately garnered acclaim from the world’s most discerning wine lovers and became the emblem of the estate”.
“The acquisition of the iconic Isole e Olena estate represents an important moment for us, as it continues the development of our presence in Italy after the acquisition of Biondi-Santi (the winery-myth of Brunello di Montalcino, where it was born in the mid-19th century, ed.). It is a privilege to continue the extraordinary work that Paolo De Marchi has done over more than four decades in Isole and Olena and for the Chianti Classico appellation”, said Damien Lafaurie, ceo Epi Wine & Champagne. Who added, “we believe deeply in the growth potential of the best Italian wines in major international markets and are determined to continue to invest in the quality of our wines, our brands and our distribution networks so that they are recognized among the best wines in the world”.
Christofer Descours, chairman of Epi Group (which was assisted by Crédit Agricole and Lca Studio Legale, with the shareholders of Isole & Olena being assisted by Kon Group and Pavia and Ansaldo Studio Legale, ed.) comments, “I am delighted that the renowned Isole e Olena estate is joining our group. We deeply respect Paolo De Marchi’s unique vision, his pursuit of excellence and his perseverance in producing refined and authentic wines. We intend to continue Paolo De Marchi’s work, putting our passion for excellence and our experience in international markets at the service of Isole e Olena’s unique wines”.
Meanwhile, Paolo De Marchi, president and winemaker of Isole e Olena, says, again in a press note sent this morning (WineNews anticipated the news last night, ed.), “after devoting much of my life to Isole e Olena, I am delighted to see my estate in the hands of a group that shares the values to which I am personally very attached: the transmission of know-how, the enhancement of terroir and the pursuit of excellence. I will actively contribute to this exciting new chapter of Islands and Olena to ensure a smooth and smooth transition. This operation does not affect my family property in Lessona (in Alto Piemonte), managed by my son Luca, who will now benefit more from my support and experience”.
Giampiero Bertolini, currently Biondi-Santi managing director, will assume direct operational responsibility for Isole e Olena as managing director, looking after both properties. Paolo De Marchi will retain his role as winemaker. “Biondi-Santi and Isole e Olena share”, Bertolini explained in a press note, “many values, first and foremost a long dedication to Sangiovese and their respective appellations. Both estates have a renowned history and a propensity for pioneering viticulture; I look forward to working side by side with Paolo De Marchi to explore together how to bring the great heritage of Isole and Olena into the future, both in Chianti Classico and in the Supertuscan segment”.

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