Category: Négociants en Vins

Categories: Négociants

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According to Wikipedia, A négociant is the French term for a wine merchant who assembles the produce of smaller growers and winemakers and sells the result under its own name. Négociants buy everything from grapes to grape must to wines in various states of completion. In the case of grapes or must, the négociant performs virtually all the winemaking. If it buys already fermented wine in barrels or 'en-vrac'—basically in bulk containers, it may age the wine further, blend in other wines or simply bottle and sell it as is. The result is sold under the name of the négociant, not the name of the original grape or wine producer.

Négociants, who are also called Wine Merchants/Traders, were the dominant force in the wine trade until the last 25 years for various reasons:

  • Historically the owners of vineyards and producers of wine had no direct access to buyers.
  • It was too expensive for growers to purchase the wine presses and bottling lines necessary to produce a finished wine.
  • Owning only a small portion of a particular high-quality single vineyard (lieu-dit) meant that a grower often had insufficient wine from a parcel to vinify on its own. Under French inheritance laws, vineyard holdings were often split until offspring owned no more than a single row of grapes, not enough to fill a barrel. Since prices for a premier cru (first growth) are typically higher than for wines from a larger area like a village or region, the grower could make more money selling off the production as the premier cru rather than blending it into a less specific appellation.

Person Profiles (1)

16 May 1822 Reims, Marne, France - 03 Feb 1893

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