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Source: La Nacion


The hottest issue in wine circles these days was the news that DLJ (Donaldson, Lufkin and Jeanrette), the American asset management group, which controls Peñaflor, was supposed to have closed the sale of 50% of the shares of their holding of six wineries to the Bemberg family, former owners of the Quilmes brewery, for a sum of over USD 300 million. Los Andes newspaper reported that this amount is the resulting profit from their sale, in 2006, of the last tranche of the brewery to its present owner, the Belgian-Brazilian merger AmBev (Brahma).

“The Biarsa investment fund, controlled by a branch of the family descending from Otto Bemberg, is closing the purchase of 50% of the Peñaflor group,” La Nación announced on Tuesday. “The admission of the new shareholder will bring about no changes in the management,” spokespeople for the Peñaflor group explained to that newspaper.

“With this step, Bemberg will be finally returning to the beverage business after a four-year absence, though in a line of business in which it has never operated before. The truth is that, although a consulted source had anticipated that there would be `no changes in the management´, Bemberg is planning to appoint two of his right hand men to the board of directors to share decision-making with two other executive officers representing DLJ on all matters concerning the activity of their six business units and their 1,600 employees,” published Los Andes newspaper.

Peñaflor is today the largest group in the wine business. The holding controls seven companies – El Esteco, Trapiche, Las Moras, Santa Ana, La Rosa, Andean Vineyards and Peñavid (must)- and its sales in 2009 rose above ARS 1,000 million. With regard to production, the group has more than 5,000 productive hectares, and is present in Argentina’s main winemaking regions, such as Mendoza, San Juan, Salta y Catamarca.

According to the article publised in Los Andes nwespaper, “In 1998, DLJ acquired 20% of Peñaflor’s shares. Three years later, after buying Michel Torino and Santa Ana, it went on to acquire the group’s entire share capital from Alfredo Pulenta. Since 2002 it has expanded its business from 20 to 82 countries. This operation constitutes DLJ’s second bid to capitalize, after a failed attempt to quote on the London Stock Exchange in 2008.”

Flichman bought Pernod Ricard`s winery

Early this month, Flichman, of the Sogrape group, saw its grape crushing capacity increase to nearly 6 million kilograms as a consequence of the purchase of Pernod Ricard winery in Perdriel, where Etchart wines used to be produced.

Adrián Cura, the firm’s marketing manager, said to WineSur: “we bought the whole plant, more than 10 hectares of Malbec, in an investment move of more than USD 3 million.”

The contract was signed at the beginning of March with the purpose of expanding the company’s production capacity by some 5 million liters. The new acquisition is equipped with modern technology, stainless steel tanks, forklifts, presses, and a large area for bottle and barrel storage.

Accroding to Cura, this investment decision came as a response to the growing demand for the brand’s products, both in the domestic and foreign markets. “In 2009 we grew more than any other brand with regard to exports. Our growth percentage was above the average, which was 11% in FOB value and 9% in volume. Flichman grew 20% in FOB value and 20% in number of cases. We ranked in the seventh place on the list of largest exporters last year”.

Flichman’s Misterio line beat the record last year in Canada with a 120% growth in sales while all the other lines grew by 74%.

The Vines of Mendoza has a new winery

The Vines of Mendoza -Private Vineyard Estates- opened their own winery ten days ago. To celebrate, a group of owners harvested the first 1,100 kilos of merlot from their own vines and later even participated in the selection of clusters and berries.

Santiago Achával, Consultant Winemaker of The Vines, was in charge of supervising the entire project, from the condition of the vineyards to the technical quality of the whole vinification process. In reference to the new project he pointed out that “this is one of the few Argentinian wineries of its kind, especially designed for microvinification, with high-end technology aimed at the small-scale production of premium wines.”

In this first stage, the winery is equipped with fifty 1,000-liter stainless steel tanks, two 1,000-liter tanks, two 10,000-liter tanks, one 5,000-liter tank and two 2,500-liter tanks.

The cellar has room for 300 barrels. This year, 36 of the vineyard-owners will produce one barrel or more of wine out of grapes from vines planted in 2007. A total of about 50,000 bottles will be obtained from the 2010 vintage.

Pablo Giménez Riili, one of the owners, said that 70 Private Vineyards have been sold and 130 hectares of vines have been planted to date.

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