Burgundy is a small, tightly knit world. Major transactions are rare, and people keep their own counsel. But my sources tell me that a significant deal is in the works.
I have been informed by reliable sources that Vincent Girardin, a highly esteemed grower and winemaker who has been building a small but important négociant arm, is selling his business. The price is rumored to be $52 million to $65 million (at today's rate of $1.30 to the euro).
With Girardin's holding comprising approximately 113 acres of vines, this would be a major deal for the region. Girardin personally owns roughly 54 acres in the Côte de Beaune, about half of that in Santenay. In addition, he has another 57 acres under a holding company, including vineyards in Chassagne-Montrachet premiers crus Morgeot and Les Caillerets, Puligny-Montrachet La Garenne, Les Pucelles and Les Referts and grand cru Corton-Charlemagne.
Domaine de La Tour du Bief in Moulin-à-Vent, which Girardin acquired in 2010, is not included in the deal, but full details are still pending.
Girardin, 49, started in Santenay with a small share of his family's holdings. Over the past 25 years, he built the domaine and a négociant business that included a range of both white and red Burgundies from the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. In 2002, he added some important holdings when he leased the vineyards of Henri Clerc, bringing the grands crus Chevalier-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet into the fold.
Girardin has made many outstanding wines in recent vintages. Among his 2007s, for example, his grand cru whites from Corton-Charlemagne and the Montrachet sites stood out for their tightly wound, racy style. His 2006 reds from the Chambertin sites were equally impressive.
In recent years, the vineyards have been converted to biodynamic cultivation. He also reduced the amount of new oak for the maturation of the whites, resulting in cleaner, more elegant and minerally wines.
Girardin has not yet returned an e-mail requesting comment.