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Rolland leaves negociant system, starts own company

Bordeaux consultant Michel Rolland has launched his own wine company, and will no longer sell his wines through the traditional négociant system.

Rolland’s son-in-law David Lesage, formerly of CVBG, one of Bordeaux’s biggest wine merchants, will be managing director of the new company, called the Rolland Collection.

He will oversee sales and distribution for five properties in Bordeaux, two in Argentina, two in South Africa, and one in Spain. All are either owned outright by Michel Rolland and his wife Dany, or are part of a joint venture.

‘We felt that the French merchants are very good at selling French wine, but it’s more difficult for them to sell wines from overseas,’ said Lesage.

‘This was really the impetus behind creating the company. We have a lot of customers asking where they can buy our wines, and with the many layers of the négociant system, we often don’t know. It’s not about cutting links with the merchants, but being as close to our consumers as possible.’

Lesage says the minimum order will be one case. ‘This isn’t revolutionary,’ he said. ‘It’s just good sense.’

Lesage added that the globe-trotting Rolland, one of the best-known winemakers in the world, was ‘quite shy’ when it came to promotion of his own wines.

‘We won’t rule out distributing other properties for which he consults, but at the moment that is not the key aim.’

The properties that comprise The Rolland Collection are:

Chateau La Bon Pasteur (Pomerol), Chateau Bertineau Saint Vincent (Lalande de Pomerol), Chateau Rolland-Maillet (Saint Emilion), Chateau Fontenil (Fronsac), Chateau La Grande Clotte (Lussac Saint Emilion), Yacochuya (Argentina), Val de Flores (Argentina), Bonne Nouvelle (South Africa), Remhoojte (South Africa), and Campo Eliseo (Spain).

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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