The sale of Chateau Montelena to the owner of Bordeaux's Château Cos d’Estournel has collapsed, it has been revealed.
News of the deal, reportedly worth US$110m, surfaced in June, but Montelena has now terminated the sale agreement, saying purchaser Reybier Investments had been ‘unable to meet its obligations’.
Reyber Investments is owned by Cos proprietor and sausage tycoon Michel Reybier.
Chateau Montelena managing director Greg Ralston would not elaborate on the reasons for the deal’s collapse.
But asked if the economic downturn had been a factor, he told decanter.com: ‘Any deal in any industry around the world that has been put up in the last three or four months has certainly hit some speed bumps.’
Ralston said Montelena was no longer for sale, and he expected the property to stay in the ownership of the Barrett family for the foreseeable future. ‘They didn’t have to sell – that was just the option they chose at the time,’ he said.
Bo Barrett, son of Jim Barrett, who revived Montelena’s fortunes in the 1970s, had told this month’s issue of Decanter – published before the news of the collapse of the deal – that the sale was prompted by his parents’ age and the fact that he could not afford to buy out his four siblings’ shares in the business.
But Ralston said there were ‘plenty of other options’ to explore for the future ownership of Montelena. ‘At the time, [selling] was the one that the family chose, based on Jim’s age and the fact that Bo has run things for nearly 30 years,’ he said.
And he added that current and future investments at Montelena, including an extensive vineyard replanting programme and ongoing work in the cellars, would not be affected by the sale’s collapse.
Chateau Montelena was founded in 1882, making its name by winning the white wine section of the ‘Judgement of Paris’ wine competition in 1976. Its estate Cabernet has since become its most lauded wine.
There was no comment from Cos d’Estournel managing director Jean-Guillaume Prats.
Written by Richard Woodard