I read a reliable wine press article reporting that Freixenet have bought Bolney wine estate for an undisclosed sum. Does anyone have any inside track on the price? I am not sure I would buy an English wine estate. I am not convinced of the wisdom of the move.
Possibly there is a second motivation beyond simply buying the winery, and that’s having a presence (a registered office) in the UK after brexit?
They have an office and registered company in the UK already (FREIXENET UK LTD), so I would guess not.
For a company of their size to buy into English sparkling suggests they see a profitable future. Even if it is just a marketing play of some form?
I wonder what it means for Bolney regards expansion / quality!
Fir enough. In which case, they must see a future for English Sparkling Wine, whatever that may be.
I guess the price probably wasn’t ‘material’ for a company of their size. Could just be a punt to see how it goes!
My hunch - and I hate to sound the cynic, but experience screams at me, and being honest with ourselves Freixenet are more a ‘volume’ business- is that they can ride the back of the ‘quality’ perception of ESW, particularly as the top-end grows, but probably mostly produce something akin to that which @PHarvey had. Essentially, Bolney being the loss leader.
‘Irons in fires’ comes to mind here.
Does Bolney have a higher ‘quality’ perception than Champagne? They own two Champagne houses, one of which - Alfred Gratien - is stocked by TWS and who supply the own label TWS Champagne…
I’m not suggesting it as an alternative to Champagne, in fact I don’t even think I even mentioned Champagne (did I?) but it’s quite clear that ESW is gaining a reputation globally - I make no comment on whether that reputation is deserved or not - as a wine to buy for serious connoisseurs.
If, as happens so many times with so many businesses, Freixenet were to pump money into a small part to create a premium (or super-premium) product, and then made a low-rent, lower quality, mass market ‘producers of that amazing wine you can’t afford’, it wouldn’t surprise me. That’s all. It isn’t a particularly new or sophisticated tactic, but it goes on in most sectors of our economy.
No you didn’t mention Champagne. But you suggested the company bought Bolney so “they can ride the back of the ‘quality’ perception of ESW.”
They can already “ride the back of the ‘quality’ perception” of Champagne which I’d suggest has a much higher quality perception than ESW.
In other words, I don’t think that’s their reason for buying Bolney.
I am happy to agree to disagree on this as neither of us know the real reason they bought Bolney.
I’d guess ESW was a sparkling wine they didn’t have in their portfolio and it was cheaper to buy a long established brand with a good reputation than to buy land, plant grapes and start from scratch. If it doesn’t work out for them, then they’ll sell it.
I wonder if the next TWS own label ESW will be made by Bolney?
I don’t really see how we’re disagreeing, this is essentially the kernel of what I’m driving at. ESW is on the up. They want in. They’ll probably also want to make money.
Not much more info but “Bolney Wine Estate currently produces between 250,000 and 300,000 bottles each year, […] but has a current capacity to make 600,000 bottles of wine a year,”
Dr Andreas Brokemper, CEO of Henkell-Freixenet said: "We are delighted to add English sparkling wine, a still young, prestigious sparkling wine speciality to our ‘pearls of Europe’.
“We are convinced that as the global market leader in the sparkling wine market, we can further strengthen the image of English sparkling nationally and internationally.”
And they state they have no plans to make English “charmant” style fizz…