Wine & Beer

Laetitia Winery sold to one of the largest wine companies in the United States

What happens to wine grapes after they’re harvested?

Freshly harvested Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec grapes wait to be processed at the Halter Ranch winery in Paso Robles.
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Freshly harvested Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec grapes wait to be processed at the Halter Ranch winery in Paso Robles.

Laetitia Vineyard and Winery in Arroyo Grande has been acquired by one of the biggest wine producers in the United States.

Santa Rosa-based Vintage Wine Estates recently bought Laetitia for an undisclosed sum, according to a news release from the company on Tuesday.

Vintage Wine Estates is the 14th-largest wine producer in the United States, making about 2 million cases of wine annually.

“We are strongly committed to the Central Coast winegrowing region, and Laetitia will be the home and hub of our Central Coast production and operations moving forward,” Vintage Wine Estates CEO Pat Roney said in the release.

Laetitia, located in rural Arroyo Grande just north of Nipomo, was founded in 1982 as Maison Deutz, before being acquired by British entrepreneur Selim Zilkha in 2001. It is particularly noted for its sparkling wines, as well as Zilkha’s push to make the operation one of the most energy-efficient and sustainable in California.

The purchase includes the winery’s production facility, inventory, 680 acres of vineyards, tasting room and estate guest house.

Current Head Winemaker Eric Hickey will stay on as a member of the Vintage Wine Estates winemaking team, according to the release. Hickey began working with Laetitia at the age of 16, according to the release.

Vintage Wine Estate’s Laetitia purchase isn’t its only in the Central Coast area: The company has recently been making a push into San Luis Obispo County, buying Qupé Winery in Arroyo Grande and Alloy Wine Works in Paso Robles earlier this year.

Qupé adds about 36,000 cases to VWE’s annual production, while Alloy, which specializes in canned wine, adds 4,000 12-pack 375 ml cans, according to a VWE representative.

Other Central Coast brands owned by VWE include Layer Cake, Purple Cowboy and Horseplay, according to a news release.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.
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