Isole e Olena estate, one of the leading historic estates in the Chianti Classico region, has been sold to EPI, an investment company that also owns Montalcino’s Biondi-Santi and Champagne Piper-Heidsieck.
The transaction amount was not disclosed but original owner Paolo de Marchi will remain as winemaker, according to the press release.
Founded in 1956 by the De Marchi family, Isole e Olena is located in San Donato in Poggio (Chianti Classico) and is part of the select group of wineries that in the 1970s and 1980 led to the recognition of Chianti Classico as a high-quality wine producing region.
Isole e Olena has earned its reputation as an example of elegance and authenticity in Chianti Classico, benefitting from the uncompromised vision, research, and fieldwork of Paolo De Marchi. Paolo has consistently been at the forefront of studies and experiments in the vineyards, with the clear objective to enhance the area’s capacity for quality, and to improve the performance of local grape varieties, primarily Sangiovese, through massal selection as well as a detailed mapping of his Galestro-driven soils.
Under his stewardship, the estate created Cepparello in 1980, a 100% Sangiovese aged in barrique. Classified as an IGT at the time not a Chianti, it was quickly embraced by the most discerning wine lovers throughout the world, and eventually became the emblem of the estate.
Commenting on the acquisition, Christofer Descours, President of EPI Group, said “I am delighted that the renowned Isole e Olena estate is joining us. We deeply respect Paolo De Marchi’s unique vision, operational excellence, and constant perseverance in producing the estate’s highly refined and authentic wines. We intend to pursue Paolo De Marchi’s work, putting our passion for excellence and our experience on international markets, at the service of the unique wines of Isole & Olena.”
Paolo De Marchi, President and Winemaker at Isole e Olena, said “After having devoted a large part of my life to Isole e Olena, I am pleased to see my estate now 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 terroirs, and the quest for excellence. I look forward to actively contributing to this exciting new chapter for Isole e Olena and to ensuring a gradual and seamless transition. This transaction does not involve my old family property in Lessona (Alto Piemonte) run by my son Luca who will benefit from my higher support and experience.”
“The acquisition of the iconic estate of Isole e Olena celebrates an important moment for us, as we continue to develop our presence in Italy following the acquisition of Biondi-Santi. It is a privilege to continue the remarkable work that Paolo De Marchi has accomplished during more than forty years at Isole e Olena and for the Chianti Classico appellation,” said Damien Lafaurie, CEO of EPI Wine & Champagne. “We firmly believe in the growth potential of the finest Italian wines in major international markets and are determined to continue investing in the quality of our wines, our brands and our distribution networks, for them to gain global recognition as some of the very best wines in the world.”
Giampiero Bertolini, currently CEO of Biondi Santi, will also assume direct operational responsibility for Isole e Olena as CEO, looking after both estates. Paolo De Marchi will keep his role as winemaker.
EPI has in recent years gradually increased its stakes in wine investment. It now owns Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck, Rare Champagne, Biondi Santi, Chateau La Verrerie, Tardieu Laurent in addition to Isole e Olena.
Its investment also extends to fashion and luxury (Bonpoint, J.M. Weston), as well as real estate.