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Artémis Domaines attracts spotlight over Burgundy plans

Vineyards near to Beaune.

It’s understood that Artémis Domaines, controlled by French billionaire François Pinault, has been in talks to acquire the buildings of Château de Puligny-Montrachet in Burgundy from Etienne de Montille, according to several reports.

Etienne de Montille confirmed to Decanter that he was to receive vineyards in exchange for the real estate.

Artémis expanded its reach in Burgundy significantly in late 2022 after taking a majority stake in a merger deal with the Henriot family’s wine holdings. These included historic merchant and producer Bouchard Père & Fils.

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Recent speculation

Since then, it has been rumoured that Pinault has ambitious plans. There has been recent press speculation about integration of the Bouchard business, as noted by local media outlet Le Bien Public.

Frédéric Engerer, MD of Artémis Domaines, said in an interview with La Revue du Vin de France that the group plans to bring more ‘focus’ to prestigious wines and intends to build a winery at Château de Puligny, alongside an existing site in Savigny, to handle fruit from certain vineyards.

Engerer said that around three hectares of additional vines will be attached to Artemis’ Domaine d’Eugénie in Vosne-Romanée. He also said Bouchard won’t buy grapes in 2024; wines will only come from its own vineyards, plus ‘fermage’ [rental] agreements.

When contacted by Decanter, Artémis said that it did not wish to comment further on the subject at this time.

The implications of the arrangements could be interesting to follow. 

Pinault has long been passionate about wine. He purchased his first estate, Bordeaux’s Château Latour, in 1993. 

His properties, which also include Domaine d’Eugénie, Château Grillet, Eisele Vineyard, Clos de Tart, Champagne Jacquesson, and Oregon producer Beaux-Frères, all produce wine at the highest level in their respective regions. 

There is no reason to doubt that the same will be true of the new structures being established in Burgundy, although it is early days. 

Brief Bouchard Père & Fils history

Bouchard Père et Fils is among the most venerable négociant houses in Burgundy, founded nearly three centuries ago in 1731 by Michel Bouchard.

Michel Bouchard’s son Joseph purchased the family’s first vineyards in 1775, and the holdings were greatly expanded by his son, Antoine Philibert, who was able to purchase numerous vineyards owned by the church that were auctioned as the property of the state during the French Revolution. 

In 1820, his son Bernard Bouchard bought the 15th century Château de Beaune, and the house continued to grow, eventually amassing 130ha of vines, including 12ha of grand cru and 74ha of premier cru.  

By the 1980s, however, Bouchard had fallen on hard times. Champagne mogul Joseph Henriot acquired the business in 1995. To help rebuild Bouchard’s reputation, he held tastings with influential journalists and agreed to destroy any stocks whose quality they found lacking. 

His efforts to raise quality were nearly universally acclaimed, and his technical director, Frédéric Weber, was widely lauded for his ability.  

Henriot passed away in 2015, and the family agreed to merge its wine holdings with Artémis in October 2022 in exchange for a minority stake in the new entity.

Earlier this year, Artémis completed the sale of Chablis producer William Fèvre to Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). In 2023, it also agreed to sell Champagne Henriot to cooperative group Terroirs et Vignerons de Champagne, owner of Nicolas Feuillatte.

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The post Artémis Domaines attracts spotlight over Burgundy plans appeared first on Decanter.

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