Two Champagne producing co-ops have completed a merger to produce a huge new organisations with the capacity to produce 24 million bottles.
The co-ops – CRVC-Champagne Castelnau (CRVC-CC) and Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (CV-CNF), agreed the deal after approval from their respective boards, with the merger becoming effective on 31 December. The new co-op, Terroirs et Vignerons de Champagne, unites around 6,000 wine growers and 3,000 hectares of vineyards. It will represent nearly 9% of the Champagne appellation, which totals 34,000 hectares.
It is hoped the merger – two years in the making – will create one of three major operators of Champagne and offer an alternative to the negociant system – which buys grapes, juice or finished wine from small producers and bottles them under the buyer’s label – with a new model with builds long-term relationships with members.
Its CEO will be Christophe Juarez, CEO of Nicolas Feuillatte since 2017; he will report directly to the president, Véronique Blin.
Ms Blin said said there was a need to restructure the co-op model after the financial crash of 2008 hit French sales of Champagne by 40 million bottles.
Mr Juarez said the new entity is “an incredible opportunity” with “the power to valorise the co-operative model in every single way”.