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Exclusive: Lapostolle Moves From Moët Hennessy To Terlato

May 1, 2012

Terlato Wines has won the U.S. import and marketing rights to the wine portfolio of the Marnier-Lapostolle family—including Lapostolle from Chile and Chateau de Sancerre from France’s Loire Valley. The agreement is effective July 1. The wines were previously handled by Moët Hennessy USA, which will continue to market Marnier Lapostolle Inc.’s Grand Marnier liqueur brand.

Lapostolle was founded in 1994 by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and her husband, Cyril de Bournet. The operation owns just over 900 acres in three Chilean vineyards—Apalta in the Colchagua Valley, Casablanca near the Chilean coast and Requinoa at the foot of the Andes. Production is 200,000 cases, and varietals include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère and Syrah.

The Lapostolle wines have a variety of tiers. The Casa wines retail at $12-$15 a 750-ml. and are designed to be approachable. The more upscale Cuvée Alexandre tier ($20-$25) is made from grapes grown in the Lapostolle-owned vineyards. Next-highest is a Burgundy-Rhone-Bordeaux blend called Borobo ($70). At the top tier is Clos Apalta ($95), a blend of Carmenère, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The 2005 Clos Apalta was Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year in 2008.

The Lapostolle portfolio currently sells 110,000 cases in the U.S. market. Terlato’s plan is to take volume to more than 200,000 cases within four years. In July, Lapostolle will launch a new label called Canto di Apalta ($25), inspired by the Clos Apalta blend. “We’re looking to be doing 50,000-60,000 cases of Canto di Apalta by year-three,” said Terlato Wines president and CEO William Terlato. “The addition of Canto di Apalta, along with organic growth from other parts of the portfolio, should take us to our near-term goal of more than 200,000 cases. Our area of expertise is higher-end wines, and that’s where we expect growth to come from.”

Chateau de Sancerre, meanwhile, is an upscale Loire Valley label that sells around 10,000 cases in the United States. Its Cuvée de Connetable 2007 ($28) scored a 92 in Wine Spectator’s May 31, 2011 issue, and the 2004 vintage of the same wine received a 90.

Terlato visited Lapostolle’s facilities for the first time in March of last year. “Our philosophy and theirs were totally in line—on luxury brand-building and on what they do in the vineyard,” Terlato said. “That brought us together.” Serious discussions began in the final months of 2011.

Moët Hennessy USA president and CEO Jim Clerkin expressed his best wishes and appreciation for the quality of the Lapostolle and Chateau de Sancerre portfolios, and looked to the future. “With our distributor partners, we now have a unique opportunity to commit all our energy and attention to wine brands which are exclusively owned by Moët Hennessy,” Clerkin said. “These include such iconic brands as Cloudy Bay, Cape Mentelle, Domaine Chandon, Numanthia and Terrazas de los Andes.”

Moët Hennessy USA also owns and distributes the market’s number-one Champagne portfolio, whose brands include Dom Perignon, Krug, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Ruinart. Its premium spirits portfolio includes Hennessy Cognac, Grand Marnier liqueur, Belvedere vodka, 10 Cane rum and Glenmorangie single malt Scotch whisky.

 

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