Moët Hennessy, the wine and spirits arm of Bernard Arnault’s LVMH group, has bought a majority stake in Château d’Esclans, forming a new partnership with the Provence rosé estate's driving force, Sacha Lichine.
LVMH’s Moët Hennessy business has acquired 55% of Château d’Esclans, which produces the popular Whispering Angel rosé wine in the Var area of Provence. Sacha Lichine, president of d’Esclans and who has been instrumental in establishing its reputation, has retained the other 45% stake and will run the estate in partnership with Moët Hennessy, said a joint-statement by both parties. Lichine sold a 5% share of d’Esclans and his business partner since 2008, Alix AM PTE Limited, has sold its entire 50% share. Financial details were not disclosed. Moët Hennessy also bought Château du Galoupet in Provence earlier this year, and the two deals underline the growing popularity and rising prestige of rosé wines from this part of southern France. D’Esclans joins a portfolio that includes Château d’Yquem and Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux, plus Krug and Dom Pérignon in Champagne, among others.
There are plans to significantly expand the d’Esclans vineyard. The 267-hectare estate currently has 74 hectares of Côtes de Provence appellation vines and ‘the vineyard will be extended soon to include an additional 60 hectares of vines of the same quality,’ said the new ownership team.
‘I am delighted by the alliance with Moët Hennessy and the ability, through the backing of this great group, to continue to develop the estate in producing excellent Provence rosés,’ said Lichine, who bought d’Esclans in 2006 and who’s family previously owned Château Prieuré Lichine in Bordeaux’s Margaux appellation. He said that his aim had always been to produce rosé in the style of a fine wine. Whispering Angel is today one of the world’s best-selling rosé wines, with no shortage of celebrity fans. But d’Esclans also makes ‘Garrus’ – one of the most expensive rosés on the market – as well as a rosé under its estate name plus those under the ‘Les Clans’ and ‘Rock Angel’ labels. Philippe Schaus, CEO of Moët Hennessy, said, ‘Sacha Lichine revolutionised the world of Provence rosé wines and its international development.’ He added, ‘Moët Hennessy will bring the full support of our worldwide teams to assist Sacha Lichine to continue this marvelous adventure.’ The news rounds off a busy week for LVMH owner Bernard Arnault, after it was announced that the luxury goods group had agreed to buy high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co in a deal worth €14.7bn ($16.2bn).