Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Woodinville, Wash., has acquired the O Wines brand of O Wine Co., also of Woodinville. O Wines currently sells its Chardonnay in the Northwest and several West Coast markets.  Ste. Michelle Wine Estates ultimately plans to release the brand nationally with future vintages, it says.

O Wines was established in 2006 by Stacy Lill and Kathy Johanson with a mission to fund scholarships for low income, deserving youth.  The brand has funded more than 40 student scholarships in four years by partnering with organizations like the College Success Foundation.  Many of the scholarship recipients were the first members of their families to attend college.

“We look forward to growing the brand and eventually adding a red wine to complement the Chardonnay,” said Ted Baseler, president and chief executive officer of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, in a statement.  “We will continue to donate a portion of the proceeds from wine sales to fund scholarships for low income, high potential youth.

"We have admired O Wines for a number of years and how they have helped young people attend college,” Baseler continued.  “The brand’s mission is well-matched with our culture of supporting the community and student scholarships, so this brand is a natural fit for us.  With our marketing and sales strength, we are well-positioned to grow the brand and raise more money for students to gain access to education.”

Lill also expressed excitement about the company’s recent acquisition. “’O’ represents ‘opportunity,’ and our vision for O Wines was to use wine as a vehicle to fund scholarships and help students improve their lives through education,” she said in a statement. “I am excited that Ste. Michelle Wine Estates will allow O Wines to achieve greater growth, visibility and brand awareness to help even more students attain their dreams.  This is a special opportunity to have Washington’s largest winery build on the platform of our small winery for the greater good of the community and the state through education.”