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France’s Henriot buys control of Oregon winery

Family-owned Maisons & Domaines Henriot has expanded in the US by acquiring a majority stake in Oregon Pinor Noir producer Beaux Frères.

Henriot, which produces a namesake Champagne, said that it has acquired a controlling stake in Beaux Frères Vineyard via its American subsidiary. But existing shareholders Michael Etzel and Robert Parker Jr, the well-known wine critic, have retained a financial interest in the Oregon producer.

Henriot has experience with Pinot Noir thanks to its ownership of the Bouchard Père & Fils merchant in Burgundy. It will add Beaux Frères to a considerable wine empire that also includes Chablis producer William Fèvre.

Financial details were not disclosed, and nor were specific shareholdings.

Founded by both partners and then-brothers-in-law Michel Etzel and Robert Parker Jr, Beaux Frères is a 88-acre* farm situated in Chehalem Valley’s Ribbom Ridge AVA (American Viticultural Area).

It is divided into two distinct vineyards: the Beaux Frères Vineyard, expanded on 30 acres, and the Upper Terrace Vineyard, 10 acres, planted in 2000 with a first bottling from the 2002 vintage.

‘The addition of Beaux Frères Vineyards is a perfect fit with the traditions and values of my family,’ said Gilles de Larouzière, président of Maisons & Domaines Henriot. ‘Michael Etzel and Robert Parker remain associates,’ he added to Decanter.com.

‘Mr Etzel is the president and talented winemaker of Beaux Frères. He has done a great job with his son, M. Etzel Jr, and the domaine still follows biodynamic and organic principles.’

De Larouzière said that Parker would advise on the transition of ownership.

‘Beaux Frères has fantastic potential,’ said de Larouzière.

Michael Etzel added, ’31 years ago, my young family moved to Oregon with the dream of planting Pinot Noir. At the start of this journey, I never imagined that a parternship with one of the world’s most respected wine producers would be our destiny.’

There is no planned change to the distribution and business model, said de Larouzière.

Editing by Chris Mercer.

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