Bulk wine: Rhône-based Raphaël Michel expands its portfolio by buying Claude Nicolas (Fronton)

Tuesday March 18 2014 by Vitisphere

Securing and developing its supply base, the Rhône wine blender and merchant , Raphaël Michel has just added two more first names to its collection: those of Claude Nicolas.  With a fundraising plan in place (€ 50 million over three years), the Rhône Group was able to acquire the entire share capital of the winemaker and merchant based in southwest France along with its vinification facility  (which belonged to the Arterris cooperative group).  Handling 170,000 hectolitres of wine annually, the acquisition of family-owned company, Claude Nicolas (based in Fronton), will allow Raphaël Michel to "diversify its offer"  by complementing it and turning the company into "a multi-product supplier."  Until now the company’s portfolio had comprised Rhône, Languedoc-Roussillon and South American (Chile and Argentina) wines and it will now expand "to include whites and rosés from southwest France in particular" as well as wines made from the "varietals of the future" such as Malbec, says Guillaume Ryckwaert (Raphaël Michel's managing director), who adds "ultimately the goal is to expand the supplier base in order to secure supplies."

With a €60 million turnover in 2013 (+10% compared to 2012), the Raphaël Michel group owns around 60 hectares in the Rhône Valley (Les terrasses de Saint Pierre purchased in 2013, the Canarde, Bourdeaux and Bellencontre domaines in 2010) and has share capital in the Union des Caves Coopératives de l’Uzège (350,000 hectolitres in the Côtes du Rhône AOP and Languedoc-Roussillon IGP).

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