Sparkling wines: Jaillance takes its Bordeaux crémants out of the ‘quarry age’

Monday April 14 2014 by Vitisphere

 

"We can now say that the story has had a happy ending ...After a number of difficult years things have paid off," concludes the Diois region winemaker, Robert Thomé, who was president of Jaillance in 2001, when this cooperative group, based in the Drôme, set its sights on acquiring, through the Commercial Court, Bordeaux company, Brouette, a family négociant, specialized in the production of Crémants de Bordeaux.  This investment has weighed heavily on the results of the French leader in sparkling wines for some time (as did their earlier forays into Saumur and Limoux).  Signed in October 2013, the partnership between the Jaillance group and the Libourne-based Cordeliers company has shaken up the French sparkling wine sector (the cooperative group has bought the "secondary fermentation" service of Cordelier, which itself acquired capital in Brouette).

This exchange of good practice has put an end to the instability at Brouette, which oscillated between being an artisanal production facility and an industrial operator. "We were proud to work on the site of a former quarry which had served to build the city of Bordeaux, but this posed logistical problems and restricted our growth," says Jean-Louis Bergès, Jaillance’s general manager.  The troglodyte works are now a thing of the past and Jaillance's  new production site (in the Blaye district commune of Peujard) has been up and running since early January.  It has a surface area of 2,000 m 2 (half of which is dedicated to secondary fermentation, riddling, disgorging and packaging) and represents a two million euro investment, according to the contractor, Michel Berger (INGECO).  Although they did not find inspiration from the old, "rudimentary" facilities, they have "adapted the work to the process", focusing on all important energy savings.

Currently producing one million bottles per year, Brouette aims to double its volume in the next five to ten years to meet the growing demand for Crémants de Bordeaux. "We have already planned to be able to extend our storage capacity ...If the sales come through! Jean-Louis Berges points out.  He especially sees the Entre-deux-Mers region as being an important supply area for base wines. The Crémant de Bordeaux market is currently estimated at 3.5 million bottles per year. Jaillance is now the leading French producer of sparkling wines (10 million bottles sold each year, including 8 million of Clairette de Die), with a turnover of 35 million euros.

 

[Source: Vitisphere; Photo: from left to right Eric Vanoni (President of Jaillance), Michel Berger, a Cordelier representative, and Jean-Louis Bergès, on 3 April at "La Marquette".

 

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