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Billionaire François Pinault hails wine merger with Henriot family

Pinault's family, which owns Château Latour via its Artémis Domaines group, has taken a majority stake in the combined company and he said the deal ensures long-term French ownership of several wine ‘jewels’.

The Pinault and Henriot families, owners of Artémis Domaines and Maisons & Domaines Henriot respectively, have ‘pooled’ their wine estates via a merger deal effective 30 September.

They said the Pinault family has a majority stake in the new group, which will retain the name Artémis Domaines and be managed by Artémis’ current MD, Frédéric Engerer. The families that own Maisons & Domaines Henriot are minority shareholders.

Financial details weren’t disclosed, but it’s a major deal in the world of French fine wine and beyond.

François Pinault has overseen an expansion of the Artémis wine portfolio since acquiring Bordeaux first growth Château Latour in 1993. 

The merger comes on the heels of Artemis’ acquisition of a minority stake in Champagne Jacquesson. It also acquired the grand cru Burgundy producer Clos de Tart in 2018, Napa Valley’s Eisele Vineyard (formerly Araujo Estate) in 2013, Rhône valley monopole Château Grillet in 2011, and Vosne-Romanée’s Domaine d’Eugénie (formerly Domaine René Engel) in 2006.

Henriot owns Burgundy’s Bouchard Père & Fils, founded in 1731 and a major vineyard owner and producer in the Côte d’Or alongside its négoçiant operations, plus William Fèvre in Chablis, Maison Henriot in Champagne and Beaux-Frères in Oregon. 

‘The merger of Maisons & Domaines Henriot and Artémis Domaines is a wonderful opportunity to bring together the treasures of our wine heritage under the same banner,’ said François Pinault.

‘It is a guarantee that a French group will ensure the long-term preservation of such jewels and continue the quest for excellence that has marked their prestigious history.’

Gilles de Larouzière Henriot, CEO of Maisons & Domaines Henriot and who will chair a supervisory board at the new-look Artémis, added, ‘With Artémis Domaines, we share a deep attachment to the exceptional wine heritage of France.’

He spoke of the team’s ambition to ‘fully develop’ the combined portfolio of estates. ‘This operation is intended to be carried out over several generations.’

Decanter’s Burgundy correspondent, Charles Curtis MW, said, ‘For wine lovers, the implications of the change for wine quality will be at least as important as maintaining French patrimony in friendly hands.

‘To judge from his other recent investments, Pinault will make any investment he deems necessary for quality, and [Frédéric] Engerer will guide the enterprise inexorably toward his vision of the best possible wine.’

François Pinault and family had an estimated fortune of €30.9bn (£26.9bn, $30.6bn), France’s Challenges publication said in July. Pinault was seventh in the publication’s 2022 French rich list, headed by Bernard Arnault, of LVMH (Moët Hennessy).  

Reporting by Chris Mercer and Charles Curtis MW.

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