Protege to assume the helm of family ventures in beverages, fine art and hospitality

[caption id="attachment_33930" align="alignright" width="235" caption="Donald Hess"][/caption]

NAPA -- Donald Hess, who started The Hess Collection wine brand on Mount Veeder in the 1970s and ’80s, today announced plans to retire from day-to-day management of family beverage, hospitality and fine art ventures, effective June 30.

[caption id="attachment_33931" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Christoph Ehrbar"][/caption]

Taking his place will be Christoph Ehrbar and Timothy Persson. Mr. Ehrbar has been Mr. Hess' personal assistant and general manager of Hess Family Latin America and has been named to the Hess ventures' Executive Committee.

Mr. Persson, formerly of London-based law firm Slaughter & May, will consult with Mr. Ehrbar on operation of the six wine businesses, located on four continents.

No changes are planned for The Hess Collection, the family said in a statement.

Mr. Hess, the fourth generation at the helm of the Hess family business empire started in 1844, has overseen the holdings for five decades, starting at age 20 when his father died. He will remain chairman of the board of Hess Holding SA, Hess Family Estates, Ltd. Hess Collection SA and the Hess Art Collection Ltd., all of which oversee Hess enterprises.

One enterprise is Hess Family Estates, which is made up of The Hess Collection, North Coast brand Artezin, Sequana Vineyards made from Russian River Valley and Central Coast grapes, Colome and Amalaya from the Salta province of Argentina, Glen Carlou from South Africa and Peter Lehmann wines from Australia’s Barossa Valley.

Donald Hess started The Hess Collection with the purchase of 900 acres on Mount Veeder in Napa County in 1978 and acquired a former Christian Brothers winery there 11 years later. North Coast operations have expanded to a large winery in American Canyon.