The Cazes family of Chateau Lynch Bages has taken a stake in Crushpad Bordeaux, an offshoot of the Californian custom wine operation.
Lynch Bages: access to winemaking team
Crushpad will open in the family wine tourism village of Bages, next to the Cazes flagship Pauillac estate Chateau Lynch Bages.
Crushpad Bordeaux, where people can make their own barrels of wine, was launched in January 2009. The original Crushpad started in San Francisco in 2004.
Crushpad Bordeaux has been based since its inception at Chateau Teyssier, the St Emilion property owned by Jonathan Maltus. The move into dedicated premises within Bages village will allow it to expand capacity – and benefit from the considerable profile of Lynch Bages.
Crushpad clients will have access to the Lynch Bages winemaking team – with technical director Daniel Llose in charge – as well as the facilities of hotel Cordeillan Bages, the Lynch Bages wine school and other facilities in the ‘village des saveurs et du vin’.
Managing director Stephen Bolger told Decanter.com, ‘I first met up with Jean-Michel and Jean-Charles Cazes back in 2008, and we have stayed in touch ever since. It’s been a long process, but I can’t think of a better platform for drawing a broader audience to Crushpad, or for our clients to experience what it really means to be making wine in heart of Bordeaux’.
Crushpad sources its grapes from key appellations across Bordeaux, and although there are no plans to offer Lynch Bages fruit, grapes from some Cazes’ estates may be available. ‘We will have some interesting news on that soon,’ Lynch Bages CEO Jean-Charles Cazes confirmed.
Eric Boissenot will continue to work as consultant oenologist for Crushpad’s amateur winemakers, as he has since 2009.
The relationship with Maltus will continue, and clients will still have access to his Saint Emilion grapes, but from the 2012 vintage, all production will move to Bages and to a new cellar created especially for Crushpad in Chai Gaston Mau in the village.
Bolger is looking to double production for the 2012 vintage, from their current 60 to 140 barrels, with the space to move up to 400 client barrels. Logistical support, such as access to label designers, will continue to be provided by Crushpad Napa, but the Cazes family are involved only in the company’s Bordeaux activities.
The exact financial investment has not been revealed, but the family has taken a stake in the business in return for their involvement.
Cazes said, ‘We’ve followed Crushpad’s activities in Bordeaux with growing admiration and believe it is a very innovative concept which complements perfectly our hospitality business. We are extremely happy to be involved in this partnership, and to give our own clients the chance to fully experience the art and technique of Bordeaux winemaking and the joy of the end result.’
In 2010 Crushpad claimed it had passed the ‘1% mark in US wine production’, making 1 out of every 100 wines sold in the US’ with ‘thousands of wine enthusiasts and over 150 commercial wine brands’ making wine, many of which are scored ‘in the 90s’ by ‘major wine critics’.
In the US, the cost of making 25 cases of wine ranges from US$5,700 to US$10,900, depending on the vineyard.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux