Washington Wine Company hopes to put Idaho on the Map

Precept Wine bought Ste. Chapelle winery from struggling Ascentia Wine Estates

Wine SpectatorHarris Meyer

The head of Seattle-based Precept Wine said he hopes to boost the visibility of Idaho wine with the company’s purchase of that state’s oldest and largest producer, Ste. Chapelle Winery. Privately-held Precept bought Ste. Chapelle from Ascentia Wine Estates for an undisclosed price, the company announced May 14. “With its higher elevations, cool climate and good viticulture opportunities, Idaho’s untapped potential is unbelievable,” said Andrew Browne, Precept’s CEO, who started the company with the Baty family in 2003. “Sommeliers want to try new things. I’m optimistic that if we put the right stuff in the bottle, it will be a cool and intriguing story and we’ll put Idaho wine on the map.”

Founded in 1976 and located in the Snake River Valley AVA in southwest Idaho, Ste. Chapelle produces about 130,000 cases a year. It’s best known for its Riesling, off-dry whites and reds, and ice wines, generally priced in the $8 to $12 range and distributed nationally. Browne is familiar with the winery. The Baty family’s Corus Brands, which Browne headed, owned Ste. Chapelle before selling it to Constellation in 2001. Ascentia acquired it from Constellation in 2008, along with seven other wine brands.

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