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Boisset buys Skalli

Boisset has continued its recent spending spree with the company's biggest deal to date: the acquisition of rival French wine giant Skalli.

The acquisition of Skalli Wines’ brands, vineyards and facilities in the Languedoc and Rhône Valley comes just a few weeks after Robert Skalli sold the company’s wine interests in Corsica.

The sale to Boisset, for an undisclosed sum, does not include St Supéry, the Napa Valley wine estate owned by the Skalli family since the 1980s.

But it does include brands such as Caves St-Pierre, Couleurs du Sud and Fortant de France, the latter seen by many as the pioneer of modern varietal wines from the south of France.

Skalli Wines has an estimated annual turnover of just under €100m and sales volumes, including St Supéry and the Corsican wines, of about 3m cases.

The business was started in Algeria by Robert Skalli’s grandfather, moving to Corsica under Skalli’s father, Francis, who was killed in a plane crash in 1964 at the age of 39.

Robert Skalli took the business over in 1972 at the age of 22 and was inspired by Robert Mondavi to lead a revolution in the vineyards of the Languedoc, championing wines made from international varietals and playing a leading role in the creation of the Vins de Pays d’Oc designation.

It was rumoured last summer that Skalli, 61, was looking for a partner or buyer for the French wine business, amid reports that France’s largest wine business, Castel, was a likely buyer.

Skalli said he was ‘very glad’ that Boisset had bought the business, adding: ‘Boisset understands and will continue the quality of the wines and the partnerships that we have established for years… I am very confident in the future that I put into their hands.’

Jean-Charles Boisset pledged to continue the ‘wonderful work’ of the Skalli family, promising to continue to develop the business.

Skalli sold the company’s Corsican wine business, Terra Vecchia, which includes the Clos Poggiale brand, earlier this month to Jean-Francois Renucci, president of the UVIB (Union des Vignerons de l’Ile de Beauté).

Written by Richard Woodard

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