Girardin and More Côte d'Or Real-Estate Transactions

Behind-the-scenes deals are changing the Burgundy landscape
Mar 1, 2012

Late last year, I wrote a blog about the rumored sale of Maison Vincent Girardin. At that time, I was unable to get a confirmation from Girardin or a spokesperson for the company. However, last week I heard that the deal was almost completed.

Marco Caschera, the Girardin export manager, confirmed that La Compagnie des Vins d'Autrefois and its managing director Jean-Pierre Nié became the majority shareholder and recently took over management of the Girardin business. The technical and sales team remains in place, with winemaker Eric Germain still at the helm. An assistant enologist, Christophe Marin, was hired to assist Germain. Girardin himself will continue in a consulting role.

"Véronique and Vincent [Girardin] have decided to entrust the management of Maison Vincent Girardin to Jean-Pierre Nié's care," said Caschera. "Jean-Pierre Nié, well-known professional of Burgundy, is the managing director of La Compagnie des Vins d'Autrefois, a trade partner of Maison Vincent Girardin for years."

According to Caschera, after 30 years of growing grapes—and recent back surgery—Girardin wanted to ensure the prosperity and development of the business over the long term. The agreement with C.V.A. will facilitate this transition.

What I was unable to determine is what will happen to the Beaujolais property Domaine de La Tour du Bief. Apparently some of the Girardin vineyards are still up for sale. It was a complicated deal from the beginning and there are still many details unanswered.

Thus is the nature of these types of deals in Burgundy. They are private sales, often intricate and secretive.

Such is the case of another similar sale I caught wind of while in Burgundy. Although I could not confirm all the details, Château de Chorey sold off all but its vineyards surrounding the château, keeping the château and the brand name.

This amounted to about 23 acres of primarily Beaune premiers crus, purchased by Louis Jadot (Beaune Vignes Franches), Maison Remoissenet (Beaune Les Teurons), Domaine Rapet (Beaune Les Cent Vignes) and Domaine du Clos du Moulin aux Moines (Pernand-Vergelesses Les Combottes).

Just this week, I also heard from a source that Domaine Maume in Gevrey-Chambertin had been purchased by Canadian businessman Moray Tawse, of Tawse Winery in Ontario's Niagara Peninsula. A small domaine, Maume's 10 acres include 1.65 acres of grands crus Mazis-Chambertin and nearly half an acre of Charmes-Chambertin, plus premiers crus Lavaux St.-Jacques (0.72 acres) and Les Champeaux (0.67 acres).

The wines will continue to be made under the Domaine Maume label, with Bertrand Maume continuing his winemaking and vineyard duties.

Last year, Tawse partnered with Pascal Marchand to create the Marchand Tawse négociant label. Marchand will oversee the winemaking, working closely with Bertrand Maume.

Since 2009, Tawse has acquired 17.25 acres of vineyards in Burgundy. In addition to this and the Ontario winery, he and his family also own vineyards in Argentina.

Winery Purchases and Sales France Burgundy

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