lundi 29 décembre 2014

Bourgogne : le Groupe Boisset rachète Henri Maire

Burgundy's interest in Jura has continued with the Boisset Group taking over Jura's Henri Maire brand. On December 23 Henri Maire Developpement (HMD) announced that the Boisset Group of Burgundy had agreed to take over the majority shareholding of Henri Maire.

The late Henri Maire founded his eponymous company in 1945, and it became the most important wine producer in Jura from the 1960s until the early 2000s. Today, it is the third-largest producer and the biggest single vineyard owner in the region, with more than 230 hectares in production, or about 12 percent of the region's vineyards.

Henri Maire was a pioneer in direct selling and was also famous for its sparkling wine brand Vin Fou. Originally made from Jura base wine, as the wine became more popular, base wine was sourced all over France. The brand still exists in various forms but only the Vin Fou Crémant du Jura is from the region.

From vineyards across the region, though predominantly in Arbois, Henri Maire makes a range of other Jura wines including vin jaune and Château-Chalon, of which it has substantial stocks.

After more than two decades of financial problems, the Henri Maire family lost control in 2010 when it was taken over by a Luxembourg financial company, Verdoso Industries, which created the company HMD. As well as investing in Henri Maire's Jura vineyards and wineries, the new HMD company invested in Burgundy taking over Nicolas Potel, Labouré-Roi and, from Boisset, Dufouleur.

In a complicated share transaction Boisset has been an investor in HMD for some time but, as recently as December 2013, financial reports indicated that Boisset did not intend to take over the company.

Jean-Claude Boisset is one of the largest négociants and growers in Burgundy as well as one of the world's most important wine producers with wineries owned across France and California.

It is likely that Boisset's interest in Henri Maire lies especially in its plantings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which together make up almost two-thirds of its Jura vineyards. These may be used to make Crémant du Jura, a style that is enjoying growth across export markets.

Henri Maire's holdings include one particularly well-sited 60-hectare estate on the borders of Arbois and Pupillin, Domaine du Sorbief, planted with all five of the permitted Jura varieties and good potential for production of fine Jura wines of all styles.

Following suspension of trading in HMD, and a statement of intent by Boisset to raise further capital, HMD states that it will issue a further communication about the takeover in February.

Two Burgundian winemakers already own vineyards in the Jura. Collovray et Terroirs of Mâcon part-own Maison Rijckaert, and Volnay's Marquis d'Angerville owns Domaine du Pélican. The latter recently expanded its holdings with the acquisition of Jacques Puffeney's vineyards.