The Castel Group, France’s largest wine company, has bought two Loire negociant houses and producers - Friedrich and Sautejeau-Beauquin.
Already this year Castel has invested in the Loire valley with the launch of Plessis-Duval, its first branded wine in the region. These acquisitions see the group cementing its presence in the Loire.
Sautejeau-Beauquin is one of the biggest operators in the Loire, with a turnover of €39m in 2006, and 25% of all Muscadet and Gros Plant sold.
The deal also gives Castel a processing plant capable of vinifying 70,000hl, and existing contracts with over 450 winemakers in the Loire Valley. The company has plans to more than double the capacity to create Europe’s biggest processing plant.
Also included is the purchase of Domaine de L’Hyvernière and Domaine de la Botinière, two properties of 150ha in the Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine appellation.
Castel communications director Franck Crouzet told decanter.com, ‘The Loire is a region with a real future, because it makes a range of wines that corresponds well to evolving consumer tastes – fruity, easy to drink, good value, fairly simple, not too tannic or high in alcohol.’
Castel, which owns high street chains Nicolas and Oddbins, reported a turnover of €884m in its wine division in 2006. Exports of Loire wines rose 12.9% in value over the first six months of 2007.
Written by Jane Anson