The Titov family leaked French champagne
The Abrau-Durso group, which specializes in the production of sparkling wine and belongs to the Titov family, has sold the Chateau d’Avize champagne house in France. The Russian company owned it for about 13 years, but in recent years it has become increasingly difficult for it to work in this country.
Abrau-Durso sold the wine-making asset back in January 2022, the president of the group, Pavel Titov, told RBC. The new owner of the chateau was a French winemaker, whose name the entrepreneur did not name. He also did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. The head of the company did not talk about the reasons for the sale of the chateau in France, but noted that it became more difficult to work in the region.
In 2010, the cost of Chateau d’Avize was estimated at 5-10 million euros, and about 10-12 million euros of investment was required to develop production within five years. According to experts, it is difficult to estimate the current value of the asset.
Land for vineyards in Champagne is significantly more expensive than in other French regions, the newspaper notes. So, in 2022, one hectare of vineyards in this area could cost 864 thousand euros, according to data from the real estate agency Barnes Properties and Chateaux.
Abrau-Durso was founded in 2001 and registered in Novorossiysk. The company is owned by business ombudsman Boris Titov. According to SPARK-Interfax, in 2021 its revenue amounted to 5.2 billion rubles, and net profit – 816.6 million rubles.
What is Chateau d’Avize famous for?
Chateau d’Avize is a winery located in the Champagne region in northeastern France. It was founded in the 19th century and until 2009 belonged to the LVMH fashion house Bernard Arnault. In 2010, the chateau was acquired by the petrochemical SVL Group, associated with the Titov family, and later the asset was included in the structure of Abrau-Dyurso.
In addition to the chateau, the Russian company received the rights to sell champagne under the brands Louis XIV, Chateau d’Avize and Chateau d’Avize Blanc de Blanc. The asset included a production complex capable of producing 2 million bottles of champagne per year, as well as cellars for storing wine. In addition, SVL leased 2 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards for 25 years.
Now Chateau d’Avize produces three brands of wine – Foliage, Chateau d’Avize and Titov & Fils. The rights to the Chateau d’Avize brand belonged to Societe Du Chateau D’Avize, but it was liquidated at the end of last year. The brand Titov & Fils, after the sale of the chateau, remained with the Titov family.
In addition, Abrau-Durso agreed with the new owner of the vineyards on the further production and import of this wine to Russia. At the same time, there may be difficulties with supplies, since EU sanctions also apply to alcohol. The EU has banned the import of wine into the country for more than 300 euros per bottle.
At one time, many Russian businessmen invested in wine production in Europe, recalls Alexander Stavtsev, head of the WineRetail news agency. For example, winemaking projects were developed by the former beneficiary of Sinara Dmitry Pumpyansky. In 2021, Forbes wrote that his family acquired 32 hectares of vineyards in France in 2008 and invested 12 million euros in their development.
In addition, Andrey Filatov, co-owner of the railway operator Globaltrans, has his own winery. He acquired the French Prieuré Saint Jean de Bébian in 2013.
According to Stavtsev, for Abrau-Durso, Chateau d’Avize was only an image project, since it did not bring significant profit to the group. “It was a story about real champagne, for the sake of art,” he added.
The interlocutor of the publication explained that the presence on the label of Champagne as a region of production does not affect the Russian consumer, and therefore does not carry commercial value. “For the same Italian prosecco, the audience is ready to pay more willingly and even more,” said Stavtsev.