Bodegas Chivite is in turmoil after its president was expelled from the board but the company is not for sale, it insists.
Fernando Chivite, up to now president of the 400-year-old Navarra company, was ousted from the board at the annual meeting last Monday 4 July and replaced by his sister-in-law Cristina Iturrioz.
While the Spanish press has reported that private bank BBVA has been instructed to find a buyer for the company, Bodegas Chivite denies this.
‘Bodegas Chivite is not currently for sale,’ a spokeswoman told Decanter.com. ‘There has been a change in management but it is still very much a family-owned company. It is business as usual.’
Chivite is wholly-owned by the surviving children, and their heirs, of patriarch Julian Chivite, who died in the 1990s.
These are Julian Chivite,who left the company in 2008 in order to start his own bodega, which releases its first wine this year, Decanter.com understands.
The second is Cristina Iturrioz – widow of Carlos Chivite who died in 2006 – who is now nominal head of the company, and the third is winemaker Fernando Chivite. A fourth child, Mercedes Chivite, has also died.
Julian has 48% of the shares, Fernando and Cristina 26% each.
According to reports there has been considerable dispute between Fernando and Cristina over the direction the company should take. Decanter.com understands Cristina would prefer to expand the more affordable Gran Feudo range, while Fernando wants to concentrate on developing the premium range – Señorío de Arínzano and Colleción 125.
One well-placed source in Navarra said that the situation should all be sorted out by next spring, ‘as they can’t realistically do without Fernando’s winemaking skills.’
Along with Fernando Chivite, managing director Iñigo del Prado has also been replaced. The new managing director is Fernando Berridi.
One of Spain’s oldest winemaking dynasties, Bodegas Chivite has been was founded in Navarra in 1647, and has been run by the Chivite family for 11 generations.
It now produces wine in Rioja, Rueda and Ribera del Duero as well as Navarra, under the Gran Feudo, Arinzano, Colleccion 125, Baluarte and Viña Salceda labels.
In 2008, Chivite’s Señorío de Arinzano vineyard in Navarra was awarded Vinos de Pago status, Spain’s highest level of classification.
Amongst numerous medals in the Decanter World Wine Awards, the Baluarte Verdejo 2010 won the white Northern Spain under £10 Regional Trophy.
Additional reporting by John Radford
Written by Adam Lechmere