Home Industry News Releases Ste. Michelle President and CEO Jim Mortensen Announces Retirement

Ste. Michelle President and CEO Jim Mortensen Announces Retirement

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David Dearie to Succeed Mortensen, Bringing 30+ Years of Global Beverage Alcohol Experience

WOODINVILLE, Wash. (October 27, 2020) – Today Ste. Michelle Wine Estates announced the retirement of Jim Mortensen, President and CEO, effective November 1, 2020.

“The opportunity to work at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates was a wonderful privilege. I am immensely proud of the work this organization has accomplished,” Mr. Mortensen said. “Our team made great strides in modernizing infrastructure, establishing e-commerce and omnichannel marketing, crafting innovative products, and earning high acclaim for our wine. My decision to retire allows me to pursue ventures and passions which I set aside a few years ago.”

David Dearie, an accomplished executive with a wealth of leadership experience across several global beverage companies, has been appointed to succeed Mr. Mortensen.  David’s career includes leadership positions at Treasury Wine Estates where he served as CEO and Managing Director ANZ for Fosters Wine Group. Prior to this, he spent more than a decade in senior executive roles at Brown-Forman Corporation, including Managing Director of Brown-Forman Beverages for Western Europe and Africa, and as President and COO of Brown-Forman Wine Group. His career of more than 30 years spans eight countries across four continents.

Currently Mr. Dearie is Founder and Managing Director of East Wind Consulting Pty Ltd., providing strategic, brand and financial advice to clients predominately in the wine and spirits sector. He is also Chairman of Lark Distillery Company Limited and a non-executive director, advisor and investor in multiple companies.

“Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is renowned for its outstanding portfolio of premium wine brands, crafted and built by a dedicated and highly motivated team of professionals,” said Mr. Dearie. “I have long admired the company and am honored to lead Ste. Michelle in the next phase of its journey. I’m excited to work with the team in growing Ste. Michelle’s wonderful portfolio of brands and I would like to thank Jim for his great stewardship of the company and wish him a happy and healthy retirement.”

About Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, located outside of Seattle, Washington, has a distinguished history that dates back to 1934. The company pioneered vinifera grape growing in Washington State while wines under the Ste. Michelle label were first introduced in 1967.  Today, SMWE owns more than 3,700 vineyard acres across Washington, Oregon and California with key sites certified with the LIVE, Salmon Safe or Napa Green designations.  SMWE’s ‘String of Pearls’ wine portfolio represents owned or imported brands, all demonstrating the producers’ unwavering commitment to creating distinctive, high quality wines from authentic estate vineyards.  Chateau Ste. Michelle, its cornerstone winery, enjoys winemaking partnerships with some of the world’s most distinguished vintners. Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori, Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel’s Ernst Loosen and Tenet is a collaboration with Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie of France.  SMWE’s charitable giving program, which supports some 400 non-profit organizations annually, has provided more than $3 million for scholarships for high-achieving, low-income students at Washington universities.  The company also was the principal fundraiser for Washington State University’s viticulture and enology institution, the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Wine Science Center.  

Ste. Michelle’s Washington portfolio includes: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, 14 Hands, Col Solare, Northstar, Spring Valley Vineyard, Merf, Intrinsic, Seven Falls and Michelle sparkling wines. In California, the company owns Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (with Italy’s Antinori family), Conn Creek (Napa Valley), and Patz & Hall (Sonoma).  Ste. Michelle also owns Erath, in Dundee, Oregon.  The company became the exclusive U.S. importer in 2006 for the acclaimed Marchesi Antinori wine portfolio of Italy and Chile’s Haras de Pirque wines, for Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte of France in 2009, and for New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate in 2010. For more information, please visit www.smwe.com.

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