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Vinadeis unveils Languedoc ‘black diamonds’

One of France’s largest wine producers has launched a high-end Languedoc range to strengthen its branded offering in the wake of a recent change in corporate identity.

Olivier Dauga, the consultant behind Vinadeis’ Black Reserve collection

Working in partnership with winemaking consultant Olivier Dauga, the company formerly known as Group Val d’Orbieu-Uccoar but now renamed Vinadeis, has created an eight-strong range of “black diamonds from the Languedoc”, called Black Reserve.

The project saw Dauga work with Vinadeis’ 17,000 hectares, 1,600 growers and 45 estates to uncover particularly high quality parcels to vinify under this Black Reserve label. Having spent 2012 exploring the vineyards and talking to growers, Dauga got the project fully off the ground with the 2013 vintage.

The new range currently features seven reds from different corners of the Minervois, Corbières, Fitou and Languedoc-Quatourze AOCs, as well as a white in the form of an IGP Pays d’Oc Chardonnay. Each wine carries an RRP of £20-25, with production standing at between 3,000 and 8,000 bottles depending on the line.

Among the new additions planned for this year is a Pinot Noir from near Carcassonne and an extension of the white range with local variety Macabeu, although Dauga also highlighted Grenache Blanc and Vermentino as further areas of exploration.

“The history of this area is simple wine, but my mission is high,” explained Dauga of the project. Already consulting in regions across France, but also Australia and the Ukraine, he noted the particular appeal of a Languedoc venture, saying: “I like adventure. In France there is a long history of wine, but this is the wild west.”

Bertrand Girard, CEO of Vinadeis

Vinadeis CEO Bertrand Girard set this new Black Reserve range within the context of the company’s desire to increase its branded offering. At present, he estimated that of the company’s €270 million annual sales, €200m is accounted for by private label orders. Of the rest, around €45m comes from the estates arm of the business, which he is particularly keen to expand.

“In terms of volume it’s not the most important project for us, but it’s probably the most important in terms of quality and winery recognition,” he told the drinks business while launching Black Reserve at Vinexpo.

“We are a very good player for private label in France – if you want 2m bottles of Merlot then we can do it – but it’s not the way to build the image of our business,” explained Girard. “We are not trying to stop doing that, but we want to be seen and recognised as a very good winery, to show people that we have some smaller, iconic wines as well.”

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