On the night of Jan. 19, a fire erupted in a warehouse used by the prominent Bordeaux wine firm of Jean-Pierre Moueix, destroying a cellar full of wines waiting for shipment.
Moueix, now run by Jean-Pierre's son Christian, oversees distribution of several Bordeaux wines, including Chbteau Pitrus, the top Pomerol estate that the Moueix family co-owns. Among the other Moueix family holdings are Pomerol chbteaus Trotanoy, Certan-Giraud, Lagrange and La Fleur-Pitrus, and a Napa Valley winery, Dominus Estate.
It is unclear whether any Pitrus was destroyed, as the fire claimed about 2,200 cases of generic Bordeaux, some other chbteau bottlings and "some great wine," according to Moueix commercial director Laurent Navarre. Fortunately, sample tastings proved that the bottles in the cellar adjacent to the fire did not suffer from heat exposure. The company would not disclose further details about the lost wines but estimated the total value at around $2 million.
The blaze, which occurred in a warehouse at the Quai du Priourat in Libourne, lasted four hours before it was extinguished by local firefighters. "It could have been a catastrophe, but we were able to avoid it," said Paulin Calvit, export manager for Moueix. He said that the fire was detected immediately by the cellar's smoke detectors.
"We have been extremely lucky," added Navarre, who speculated that it may have been an electrical fire caused by one of the forklifts used in the warehouse.
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