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Boisset Acquires Skalli; St. Supery Not Included In Deal

November 28, 2011

Boisset, La Famille des Grands Vins has agreed to acquire Skalli Family Wines, the French winemaker renowned for its Languedoc varietals. Skalli’s St. Supery Vineyards and Winery in the Napa Valley, as well as its recently sold Corsican wine holdings, were not included in the transaction.

Skalli’s annual sales volume, excluding Corsica and St. Supery, is approximately 1.5 million cases, thus increasing Boisset’s global volume to roughly 7.5 million cases.

Skalli is considered the French wine industry’s foremost pioneer in developing modern varietal wines from the south of France, led by its Fortant de France and Couleurs du Sud labels. Other Skalli labels from the Languedoc include Famille Skalli, Domaine de Silene and F. by Skalli, a tribute to current chairman Robert Skalli’s late father, Francis. The company is also present in Provence, with the Robert Skalli label.

“I’m very glad that it’s Boisset who will perpetuate and continue the spirit of the Skalli family,” said Robert Skalli. “Boisset understands and will continue the quality of the wines and the partnerships that we’ve established for years. I’m very confident in the future that I put into their hands.”

The Skalli family business was founded in Algeria in the 1920s by Robert Skalli’s grandfather, Robert-Elie, who planted vineyards in Oran and other parts of the country, using the traditional southern French varietals Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache and Alicante. The business was successful, with the wines exported primarily to France and Switzerland.

In 1961, Robert Skalli’s father Francis established an import operation in the Languedoc for the family’s Algerian wines. In that same year, the company also acquired vineyard land in Corsica in the region of Terra Vecchia. Skalli’s Corsican wines—Clos Poggiale, Terra Vecchia and Robert Skalli—were sold to UVIB (Union des Vignerons de l’Ille de Beauté) several weeks ago.

Robert Skalli took the reins of the family business in 1974 at age 24 and soon turned his efforts to cultivating the vineyards and wines of the Languedoc—ultimately dedicating his career to a vision of producing quality, approachable varietal wines from the south of France. Traveling through Languedoc region, he convinced growers to replant their vineyards with modern varietals including such Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In the process, he revolutionized France’s wine industry, which until then had been almost entirely based on the appellation d’origine controlée system.

In addition to its Languedoc and Provence holdings, Skalli has a sizeable Rhone wine portfolio that includes Caves St. Pierre, Robert Skalli, Maison Bouachon and Dedication.

In total, approximately 40% of Skalli’s sales are in France, with the remaining 60% occurring on the international market. Skalli’s top global markets are the U.K., China, Japan, the U.S., Germany, Belgium and Holland.

Skalli’s California interests, which it will retain, are comprised of St. Supery. Interestingly enough, St. Supery began with a vineyard purchcase by Skalli from Boisset in the early 1980s. Skalli purchased the Dollarhide ranch in Napa Valley in 1982 and then built a winery on a second estate vineyard in Rutherford, which opened in 1989 as St. Supery Vineyards and Winery.

Skalli’s French wines now join a Boisset French portfolio which includes Burgundy’s Domaine de la Vougeraie, Bouchard Aîné & Fils, Mommessin, Jean-Claude Boisset and Jaffelin, as well as J. Moreau & Fils in Chablis and Louis Bernard in the Rhône Valley.

In addition to bolstering its French holdings, Boisset recently has focused on developing its California portfolio, adding Monterey, California’s Lockwood Vineyard to the fold earlier this month, as well as Buena Vista Carneros in April and Napa’s Raymond Vineyards in 2009. Raymond is currently the company’s biggest California brand at around 225,000 cases.

“We’re honored to continue the wonderful work of the Skalli family, whose amazing presence, energy and passion defined exceptional quality wines from the Languedoc, and to also strengthen our presence in the Rhône Valley,” said Boisset Family Estates president Jean-Charles Boisset. “We will continue to develop the known expertise and recognized dedication to high quality wines that the Skalli family has established, and are very pleased that it remains a family affair.”


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