Historic merger in Champagne creates giant group
The largest merger of the 21st century in Champagne was completed yesterday, and sees the creation of a new super cooperative group with the capacity to produce 24 million bottles.
The deal sees the union of two of Champagne’s leading cooperative groups CRVC-Champagne Castelnau and Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, following approval from their respective boards of directors yesterday, with the merger becoming effective on 31 December.
Together, the new cooperative group – which has been named Terroirs et Vignerons de Champagne – unites around 6,000 wine growers and 3,000 hectares of vineyard, representing nearly 9% of the Champagne appellation, which totals 34,000ha.
The union of cooperatives has a potential production capacity of 24 million bottles – 8% of Champagne’s approximate 300m bottle global market – with the newly-formed super group aiming to hit €300m in turnover.
Presidents Véronique Blin (CV-CNF) and Emmanuel Comyn (C.R.V.C.) have been working on a potential merger for the past two years, with db first writing about the deal in December 2020, and again in April this year, when it was announced that the union was being delayed by six months due to Covid.
Commenting on the deal yesterday, Blin said it was prompted by “a need ned for a restructuring of the cooperative model,” following a decline in the French market for Champagne after the global financial crisis of 2008, when domestic sales fell by 40m bottles.
Christophe Juarez – who has been CEO of Nicolas Feuillatte since 2017 – has been appointed CEO of the enlarged group and will assume his new role on January 1, 2022, reporting directly to the president, Véronique Blin.
Juarez said that the deal had ensured that Terroirs et Vignerons de Champagne was now one of “the three major operators in Champagne”, with “the power to valorise the cooperative model in every single way.”
Concluding, he said of the union, “What an incredible opportunity!”