The French wine company Castel has taken a 50% stake in Chateau Beychevelle, Chateau Beaumont and the wine merchants Barriere Freres.
Previous owners Grands Millésimes de France (GMF), and insurance company Ethias, have sold their 63% stake.
The Japanese drinks company Suntory – a Beychevelle shareholder for 20 years – has increased its stake from 37% to 50%.
The terms of the deal see GMF/Ethias sell 50% to Castel, and 13% to Suntory, giving the new partners an equal share. Suntory continues to separately own Chateau Lagrange, also in Saint Julien.
Castel is the largest wine and beer company in France, still run by 84-year old Pierre Castel and is based out of Blanquefort, a small town near Bordeaux.
Castel already owns around 15 small estates in Bordeaux, and the wine merchant Barton & Guestier, but is best known for wine brands Baron de Lestac and Malesan.
Philippe Blanc, director of Chateau Beychevelle, told Decanter.com, ‘It is early days, and the practical details have not yet been worked out, but we are optimistic about working with a new partner who understands the wine world very well, even if they have not been specialised until now in classified growths.’
In a separate deal, Castel has bought the wine estates of another insurance company, Maaf, also in Bordeaux, acquiring Chateaux Tour Saint-Christophe (Saint-Emilion), Tour Musset (Montagne Saint-Emilion) and Haut Caplane (Sauternes), along with wine merchants The Savour Club.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux