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Biondi Santi sale to Charles Heidsieck Champagne owner took six months

Talks that led to Biondi Santi selling a majority stake in its historic Montalcino winery to France's privately held EPI Group took half a year to complete, according to Jacopo Biondi Santi.

Paris-based Européenne de Participations Industrielles (EPI) has bought a majority stake in Biondi Santi, one of the most renowned Brunello di Montalcino wine producers.

The deal marks a significant moment for one of Italy’s most famous wine producing areas.

Biondi Santi has been owned by one family since its inception in the 19th Century.

It is one of the top 10 Brunello di Montalcino producers, according to Richard Baudains writing in the newly released Italy supplement that accompanies the February 2017 issue of Decanter magazine.

EPI is owned by France’s Descours family and has owned both Charles Heidsieck and Piper-Heidsieck Champagne since 2011.

Related: Wine Legend – Biondi Santi, Brunello di Montalcino 1975

Neither side would disclose the new exact ownership arrangement, but the Biondi Santi family has retained a minority stake in the business.

‘I will continue as the President of Tenuta Greppo together with the assistance of my son, Tancredi, by my side,’ Jacopo Biondi Santi told Decanter.com this week.

There was no time limit for a deal with EPI, he said. ‘After six months of meetings we found agreement on 16 December 2016.’

He added, ‘The reason why I was happy to close the partnership with EPI Group was mainly because they are first of all a family, just like us, and they have a tradition in pursuing the best standard in their estates and therefore we share the same philosophy.

‘I thought that was better than having an investment fund as a partner.’

EPI spokesperson Christophe Aerts told Decanter.com, ‘Each party will play its own role in growing the reputation and excellence of Biondi Santi.

‘EPI will help Biondi Santi from a business point of view and Jacopo and Tancredi will be also very much involved in overlooking the vineyards, the winemaking and will also act as brand ambassadors.’

EPI’s relatively young chairman, Christopher Descours, rarely gives interviews but has used acquisitions to expand EPI’s luxury and artisan credentials since taking the reins in 2005. He bought clothing label Alain Figaret in 2006 and the Bonpoint children’s clothing maker in 2007.

Some have started to call EPI a ‘mini LVMH’, a reference to Bernard Arnault’s empire of luxury goods including Krug, Château d’Yquem and Louis Vuitton.

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