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Wine Spectator: Martine Saunier Sells Her Import Company, Martine’s Wines

January 2, 2013

Martine Saunier, whose import and wholesale company Martine’s Wines, Inc. specializes in wine from France, sold her business in December to partners Gregory Castells and Kate Laughlin for an undisclosed price, Wine Spectator reports. The deal includes the inventory, staff and a one-year lease on the warehouse. Saunier will sit on the board for the next two years to help the company transition.

“I wanted to sell for the past two years because if anything happened to me my people would be in limbo,” said Saunier, 78, who founded Martine’s 33 years ago. “I was looking for a buyer but didn’t want to sell my name to a big company.”

After selling wines in California for 10 years, Saunier formed her company in 1979, introducing American wine lovers to the wines of Château Rayas in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Henri Jayer and François Jobard from Burgundy. Though small, her list of French growers soon became staples on the wine lists of the best French restaurants in Los Angeles. Financial difficulties in late 2008 forced her to sell some of her personal Jayer collection to keep the company afloat.

 

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