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Champagne Heidsieck owner takes majority stake in Biondi-Santi

France’s Descours family, the owner of the Piper and Charles Heidsieck brands, has taken a majority stake in Brunello’s Biondi-Santi.

biondi-santi
Biondi-Santi is located near Montalcino in Tuscany and is credited as being the inventor of Brunello di Montalcino

In an agreement concluded on 16 December, EPI – the independent French family group owned by the Descours family – has entered “a strategic and capitalistic alliance with the Biondi Santi family”, following “exclusive negotiations that began in June,” according to a press release sent out at the start of this week.

Although the financials of the arrangement have not been disclosed, according to The Wine Spectator, EPI has taken a majority shareholding in Biondi Santi.

However, Christopher Descours, who is president of the EPI Group, said that Jacopo Biondi Santi will continue to preside over the producer, which is recognised as the inventor of the Brunello di Montalcino.

He also said that EPI would “continue to develop the Biondi-Santi wines, drawing on the experience and expertise of Jacopo Biondi Santi.”

Meanwhile, Jacopo Biondi Santi said, “EPI will give us the necessary support for the development of our business and thus will help strengthening the influence of our wines and therefore of Brunello internationally.”

Jacopo’s son, Tancredi, in an interview with the drinks business at this start of this month, said that Brunello di Montalcino seems to struggle to generate a more rapacious following compared to other Italian fine wine regions, commenting that the style of Brunello and a lack of understanding of it was holding the region back.

As well as Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck Champagne houses, EPI owns the Château La Verrerie vineyard in the Rhône Valley, as well as upmarket children’s clothing brand Bonpoint and shoemaker JM Weston.

Coincidentally, the new agreement brings Italy and France, and specifically Brunello and Champagne, under the same umbrella organisation on the same day Chianti Classico and Champagne signed a partnership agreement that is set to boost the promotion and protection of winemaking and wine tourism across the two regions.

As previously reported by db, the new partnership deal, which was signed by the majors of Reims Arnaud Robinet and Florence Dario Nardella on Friday 16 December, has been designed to allow the two wine regions to share experiences and best practise on a number of practical and promotional issues.

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