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Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux signs ‘exclusive’ distribution deal with Crurated

Sought-after Burgundy producer Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux has changed the way it distributes its wines by signing a deal with fine wine members’ platform Crurated.

London-based Crurated said its membership will have direct access to Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux wines, following an ‘exclusive direct-to-consumer distribution deal’ signed with winemaker Charles Lachaux and his mother, Florence.

Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux, established in Burgundy in 1858, has risen to a new level of prominence in recent years, and Charles Lachaux is regarded as one of the top talents of his generation.

Crurated, founded in 2021, offers wines sourced direct from wineries and describes itself as a membership-based wine community designed to connect connoisseurs with world-class producers.

Wines are backed by blockchain technology, intended to help guarantee provenance, and each bottle of Arnoux-Lachaux sold will come with its own non-fungible token (NFT).

Charles Lachaux said the Domaine has kept a few of its links to direct customers outside of the Crurated membership community. ‘We [will] keep all our French direct customers,’ he told Decanter, citing long-standing links with them.

Arnoux-Lachaux will also continue to work with importers in different markets to release a portion of its wines to restaurants and the wider on-trade.

The partnership between Arnoux-Lachaux and merchant Corney & Barrow in the UK has come to an end, however, both sides confirmed.

Crurated began distributing Charles Lachaux négoce wines last year. ‘The négoce is like a small laboratory,’ Lachaux said. ‘I experiment with things and if they work we apply them sometimes to the Domaine.’

charles lachaux, winemaker

Charles Lachaux. Credit: Crurated / Arnoux-Lachaux.

Lachaux said he is keen to explore ways of building direct relationships with more consumers. He has taken part in some Crurated members’ events, and will co-host events in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore in November this year, as well as in the US in 2024.

Smaller Arnoux-Lachaux yields, due to evolving vineyard methods, made the previous distribution model complicated, Lachaux said.

‘Importers don’t have the same volume that they used to have 10 years ago’, Lachaux said. ‘For example, we were producing 30 barrels of Chambolle-Musigny [village-level], and on the next vintage we are going to sell [2020] we have produced about seven.’

Lachaux also emphasised that he wants to continue encouraging people to drink and enjoy the wines.

He said ‘speculation has gone completely crazy’ on the wines on the secondary market, post-release. Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the trade, said average prices across the Domaine and négoce wines rose by 487.2% in the year to 30 September 2022.

‘It’s not the price we sell the wine for,’ Lachaux said. At Crurated, he said the plan is to release Domaine wine ‘at a percentage of the market price’, which it’s hoped ‘makes you still want to drink it, but makes you less concerned about wanting to keep it to sell’.

Crurated founder de Gaetano said wines would be released in-line with the group’s principle of one ‘lot’ per person, beginning with fixed-price sales for higher-tier members.

A ‘big portion’ of the wine will be held back for release to all members, who will have a chance of securing bottles even if they have no previous purchase history, he said.

He added Crurated’s membership has grown from 600 in year one to around 2,500 now, with 70% of members under the age of 45.

Arnoux-Lachaux will begin by offering 2020-vintage wines via Crurated from 19 to 25 June, and more releases are expected later in the year.

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