Ste Michelle Wine Estates, a Washington-based collection of wine estates, has selected Southern Wine & Spirits of Minnesota, a division of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, to distribute its portfolio of wine brands in the state.

The exclusive deal was effective on a dual basis across the state on 9 July 2012 – and will be exclusive as of 1 August 2012.

Southern Wine & Spirits already has presence in Maryland and the District of Columbia through a joint venture with FP Winner Wine & Spirits and a joint venture operation in Minnesota with JJ Taylor Distributing Company.

However, the Minnesota division will be the sole distributor of Ste Michelle’s portfolio in the state.

Southern Wine & Spirits of America president and chief executive officer Wayne Chaplin said the deal builds its broad partnership with Ste Michelle which includes distribution in 14 other markets and also look forward to ensure success throughout the state of Minnesota.

Ste Michelle Wine Estate CEO Ted Baseler said the company is pleased to add Minnesota to its existing group of its markets.

"Southern’s Executive Vice President-General Manager of Minnesota, Illinois and Kentucky Will Conniff along with Vice President-General Manager of Minnesota Dan Daul have assembled a winning team in the state, and we are confident in the partnership between both of our companies achieving strong gains in growth and share in the state’s wine market," Baseler added.

Southern Wine & Spirits vice president and general manager Brad Vassar said the company’s expansion with Ste Michelle in Minnesota will bring an elevated level of brand stewardship to wine estate’s portfolio and enhanced levels of service to Minnesota’s retail customers.