Calvet, one of Bordeaux's oldest negociant houses, has been sold to Grand Chais de France, owners of the JP Chenet brand.
Calvet has been looking for a buyer for some months, although it is understood that the company’s president and minority shareholder, Jack Drounau, is against the sale. It has not yet been announced whether he will be remaining as a shareholder.
Since 2003, the majority shareholder in Calvet has been H Mounier, the Cognac-based owner of the Grey Goose vodka brand.
Calvet, with a 188-year history in the region, has restructured several times recently in an attempt to move into profitability, selling off its property holdings and bottling line, making a large number of redundancies and finally being taken over by H Mounier.
It still has a number of strong brands, like Calvet Reserve, particularly in the UK, Japan and Canada.
A current employee of Calvet told decanter.com earlier this week the sale came as no surprise. ‘No replacements were made following the recent redundancies, and I’ve been working two jobs, as have most of us.’
Grand Chais de France is one of France’s largest drinks companies, employing 300 staff.
It is headquartered in Alsace, but has a large warehouse and bottling plant at Landiras, south of Bordeaux. There are fears among Calvet staff that the entire operation will move from central Bordeaux.
Calvet employees went on strike yesterday in protest at the sale.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux