Bodegas Bretón in Navarrete, Rioja is up for sale after a difficult few years’ trading.
The economic downturn started to bite in 2008, and it is reported that a group of businessmen from Aragón showed interest and offered to sell off the stocks of wine already in the bodega.
These included the ‘mainstream’ brand Loriñón and premium wines Dominio de Conte, Alba de Bretón and Pagos del Camino.
The sale drove prices down, however, damaging the reputation of the brands, and the business group then lost interest in buying the bodega.
Bodegas Bretón was established in 1985 by Pedro Bretón and financial backers from Logroño; from its foundation until 1995 the winemaker was Miguel Ángel de Gregorio, who left to establish his own bodega, Finca Allende.
The original Bretón bodega was in the city of Logroño, but the company created a purpose-built new bodega in Navarrete in 2001 which included a ‘sanctuary’ for maturing the flagship Alba de Bretón wines, the 2004 vintage of which is currently fetching more than £30 a bottle in the UK.
By 2004, the company owned or controlled more than 250ha of vineyards, including the tiny (1.3ha) Pagos del Camino vineyard, with 80-year-old Garnacha vines.
It has been suggested that the launch winemaker, de Gregorio, is showing an interest in buying the bodega but this is unconfirmed. He is quoted as saying, ‘At the moment we cannot say anything about this.’
Written by John Radford