Vinquiry Sells Majority Interest

California wine lab acquired by Italian chemical and winemaking product supplier

by Paul Franson
Marty Bannister will continue in her role as Vinquiry CEO.
Windsor, Calif. -- The Esseco Group, a large international distributor of winemaking products and services, has acquired a majority interest in Vinquiry, Inc., a leading laboratory service provider to the wine industry.

Representatives of the Esseco Group (essecogroup.com) and Vinquiry (vinquiry.com) said that the companies will work together to provide technologically advanced winemaking supplies and analytical services to North America.

Vinquiry was established 30 years ago by Marty Bannister and MaryAnn Graf. It is headquartered in Windsor, Calif., with offices in Napa, Santa Maria and Paso Robles. The company offers analytical services, sensory services, consulting, and winemaking supplies.

Bannister, the CEO, told Wines & Vines, "As you grow, you reach a point when it's time to bring in the skills a large company can offer. I was looking at doing this in the next two to four years when I was introduced to Esseco, and it seemed a perfect match. They're big in other wine regions of the world, but not in this market." She added that the company bought a lab services company in France, and wanted to expand that offering.

Esseco Group, founded in 1921, is headquartered in San Martino Trecate in Italy's Piedmont region. It is a diversified holding company with interests ranging from winemaking products to chemical products for various applications. Esseco Group claims to be one of the largest distributors of winemaking products and services in such markets as Italy, France and Spain, with significant presence in Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Australia. This move will obviously position the company in the North American market, which is projected to become the world's largest wine consumer.

Esseco has a worldwide presence distributing its Enartis brand of winemaking products targeted at optimizing the production process and enhancing wine quality. Fabrizio Zenone, general manager of Esseco Group, said in a release, "The North American winemaking industry is possibly the most attractive in the world, and we found in Vinquiry the ideal partner to progress and expand in this market. The skills and know-how of Vinquiry represent a unique asset, and Esseco Group is fully committed to support the development of the company."

Bannister said she will remain president and CEO, but that a new position, director of operations, has been created to handle some of her previous duties, including much of the day-to-day administration. The new parent will bring additional products to sell, but Vinquiry will continue to offer those it has been selling.
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