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Laroche buys L’Avenir

Chablis wine icon, Michel Laroche, has teamed up with French insurance giant AXA to buy South African wine estate L’Avenir for an undisclosed sum.

The deal, finalised this week, sees Laroche take 51% and AXA 49% of the 24 hectare estate, which produces 25,000 cases a year. The purchase includes all the vineyards, buildings, stock and equipment, and for the time being all existing distribution arrangements will remain in place.

Though only founded in 1992 by 67 year-old sugar magnate Marc Wiehe, L’Avenir has rapidly risen to become a leading estate, not just in Stellenbosch, but in the whole of the Cape. It is understood that Wiehe’s desire to retire prompted the sale.

The takeover represents something of a coup for Laroche, who already has interests in southern France and Chile and has been known to be looking to expand further for some time.

‘As well as being one of the most beautiful vineyards in the world, there is also far more scope and freedom for development in South Africa, which, combined with increased consumer demand makes this a highly attractive project,’ said Laroche.

Written by Chris Losh

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