Maisons & Domaines Henriot, owner of Henriot Champagne, has bought a majority stake in prominent Oregon estate Beaux Frères for an undisclosed sum.
As reported by Wine Spectator, the sale to the French wine powerhouse includes the Beaux Frères winery in Newberg and 14 hectares of vines.
Beaux Frères’ winemaker and co-founder, Michael Etzel, will remain president and CEO of the company, while American wine critic Robert Parker will retain a small percentage of his shares in the estate.
Etzel and his wife, Carey Critchlow, have retained ownership of a second label, called Sequitur, and its 5-hectare vineyard.
The acquisition came about when Parker and French-Canadian investor Robert Roy told Etzel they wanted to sell their shares in the winery a year ago. Not in a position to buy them out, Etzel started looking around for investors, with Henriot proving the most suitable fit.
“Henriot was the most likeminded. It was not strictly a financial decision. The relationship had to work,” Etzel told Wine Spectator.
“The addition of the Beaux Frères winery is a perfect fit with the traditions and values of my family, built over many generations,” said Henriot president Gilles de Larouzière.
“In the warmth that we felt in our discussions with the Etzel family, I sensed a meeting of minds and the flame of shared artistic passion and know-how,” he added.
Meaning “brothers-in-law” in French, Beaux Frères lies on the site of a former pig ranch in the Willamette Valley. With Parker’s backing Etzel bought the estate in 1986.
Beaux Frères co-founder Michael Etzel
Known for their depth, power and elegance, around 8,500 cases of Beaux Frères Pinot Noir were produced last year.
Henriot’s impressive portfolio includes Burgundy négociant Bouchard Père & Fils in Beaune, William Fèvre in Chablis and Château de Poncié in Beaujolais.
Maisons & Domaines Henriot has a turnover of over €100 million and employs over 350 people. Gilles de Larouzière had been on the board of the group since 2011.
Gilles had been asked to head up the group by members of the Henriot family, including his uncle Joseph Henriot shortly before he died in May 2015.
Neither of Joseph Henriot’s sons – Stanislas and Thomas – currently work within the group, although Thomas was president of Champagne Henriot until 2015.