Home Industry News Releases EPI Acquires Isole E Olena, Iconic Chianti Classico Estate 

EPI Acquires Isole E Olena, Iconic Chianti Classico Estate 


Following the acquisition of Biondi-Santi in Montalcino in 2017, EPI
strengthens its presence in Italy, with the acquisition of this historic Tuscan estate.

June 3rd – EPI, the independent family group owned and managed by Christofer Descours, announces that it has acquired the Isole e Olena estate, one of the leading historic estates in the Chianti Classico region, from Paolo De Marchi and his family.

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 – one of the very first Super Tuscans, which 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 was advised by Crédit Agricole CIB and LCA Studio Legale. Isole & Olena’s shareholders were advised by Kon Group and Pavia e Ansaldo Studio Legale.

About EPI

EPI is an investment company owned and managed by Christofer Descours. The EPI Group acts as a committed shareholder of the companies it selects, supporting the development of their operations on the long term and the transmission of their know-hows. Its value creation strategy is based on several business divisions: Fashion and Luxury (Bonpoint, J.M. Weston) led by Valérie Hermann, Wine & Champagne with world-class Houses (Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck, Rare Champagne, Biondi-Santi, Chateau La Verrerie, and Tardieu Laurent) led by Damien Lafaurie, and Financial investments, including real estate, led by Franck Hagège. The Group’s teams are driven by a shared passion and ambition to unleash the full potential of the projects and talents it brings together.

About Isole e Olena 

A historical Chianti Classico estate located in the western part of the appellation in San Donato in Poggio, Isole e Olena is composed of 56 hectares of vineyards at 300-500 meters above sea level. Isole e Olena was founded in 1956, when Francesco De Marchi, a lawyer from Piedmont, bought the Tuscan village (“borgo”), comprised of several farming units (“poderi”) which were managed by sharecroppers. It was in the mid-seventies, under the guidance of the visionary Paolo De Marchi, son of Francesco, that the estate started its journey towards producing wines of the highest quality for which it is renowned today. The very first vintage of Isole e Olena crafted by Paolo De Marchi was made in 1978.

The estate is recognized for being part of the select group of wineries that led to the recognition of Chianti Classico as a region producing high quality wines in the 1970s and 1980s, and it is respected for its authentic style of Chianti Classico: fragrant and well-balanced with purity of fruit, very representative of its high-altitude vineyards. In addition to Chianti Classico and Cepparello, Isole e Olena produces a series of unique expressions of Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as a highly acclaimed Vin Santi.

In 1980, Cepparello, a barrique-aged Sangiovese crafted from old vines, was bottled for the first time. This wine, today the emblem of Isole e Olena and a benchmark Super Tuscan for the area, consistently shows the character and longevity of pure Sangiovese from Chianti Classico. Cepparello owes its name to a stream running alongside the vineyard.

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