The new partners will succeed the Reboul-Schneider family after twenty years at the estate.
The Prats family, former owners of Cos d’Estournel in Bordeaux, will take a minority stake alongside French entrepreneur Stéphane Courbit whose businesses include media production, online gambling and luxury hotels.
The estate becomes the first wine property to join Courbit’s Airelles collection of luxury hotels located across France in Courchevel, Val d’Isère and St-Tropez.
Built in the 17th century and spanning 300ha, with 18ha under vine, Château d’Estoublon is located in the Baux-de-Provence appellation.
Vineyards are farmed organically and planted on the limestone foothills of the Alpilles to Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, Roussane and Marsanne.
Courbit is expected to manage the hospitality of the estate – which includes 10 VIP guest suites, with more planned, as well as an on-site restaurant La Table d’Estoublon for guests seeking an authentic Provençal lifestyle experience, while the Prats family will undertake wine production.
Speaking to Decanter.com, Jean-Quentin Prats said the interest in Château d’Estoublon stemmed from a desire to get the family more involved in wine. ‘My grandfather, Bruno Prats, (owner of the portfolio) proposed to look for a new property where myself, my siblings and cousins could be more hands on.
‘We agreed that Provence would be fantastic for us. It is easier to try new things, new packaging and new messages.’
He also cited historic family roots in the Hérault region, and specific terroir as a reason to ‘put a foot back in the Mediterranean wine region’.
He said: ‘It is a historical property, deep rooted in a very specific limestone terroir. We found there a special connection for our family, like in Bordeaux, that has always seen great château sitting on their terroir for centuries’.
Joining the Estoublon decision making team will be a trio of Prats family members including Jean-Quentin, who has been based at Estoublon for six months following studies at Sciences Po Paris and 18-months in Hong Kong as brand ambassador for Château Pavie in Asia, his cousin Louis-Clément, currently part of the technical team at Château Latour and brother Baptiste who is finishing studying at ESCP Europe.
They will also work alongside new technical director Anaïs Maillet, who was previously at Château Lafon-Rochet in St-Estèphe and was senior winemaker at Terrazas de los Andes in Mendoza.
The first project since completing the acquisition is the creation and launch of a new premium flagship rosé, Roseblood d’Estoublon – a blend of Grenache (50%), Cinsault (45%) and Tibouren (5%). It is currently available at the domaine, and in the Airelles hotels, with wider distribution set for the US, UK and the rest of the world in the coming months.
Speaking about the launch Prats said: ‘Roseblood is a super high quality standard rosé wine. In this category Roseblood is one of the only organic wine from Provence. We have worked very hard to select the best wines and to craft a rosé with a very precise and distinctive style. Roseblood has a lot of freshness, precision and expression’.
A limited bottling of a ’boutique’ red and white will also be produced which Prats said would be ‘just a few thousands bottles a bit like a great Pomerol of Provence’.
The construction of a modern, gravity-fed winery will begin shortly as well as the introduction of vineyard tours and cellar door activities.
In addition to wine, Chateau d’Estoublon is surrounded by 120ha of olive groves and is well-known for its range of premium extra virgin olive oils.
The acquisition follows several other high-profile winery deals in Provence, which have included:
- Cos d’Estournel owner Michel Reybier buys Château La Mascaronne in July 2020;
- LVMH buying control of Whispering Angel producer Château d’Esclans in December 2019;
- The Wertheimer family, owners of French fashion label Chanel and also Châteaux Rauzan-Ségla and Canon in Bordeaux, purchasing Domaine de L’Ile on the island of Porquerolles in October 2019;
- Provence’s Château Bas being sold to a holding company co-owned by Catherine Castéja, member of a major Bordeaux wine family, in May 2020.