One of France’s biggest online wine retailers,, has unexpectedly been put up for sale.

ChateauOnline’s owner, Trinidad and Tobago-based CL Financial, has suffered financial difficulties due to the global economic crisis. Its UK wine operation Paragon Vintners went into administration earlier this year.

Evelyne Resnick, a wine consultant specialising in web marketing, told, ‘I am surprised Chateauonline is up for sale because the site is doing very well. However, that could make it a good time to sell, as they are expecting to break even for the first time this year.’

Fabrice Bernard, a director at Wine & Co, another leading internet wine site, denied they would be interested in purchasing the site. ‘We are always looking for opportunities for expansion. 70% of new clients are coming through our website, but this is not an opportunity that we will be pursuing.’

According to a report by Bordeaux’s business school earlier this year, ChateauOnline receives 150,000 visitors a month, with annual revenue of 10 million euros.

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Written by Jane Anson