“The Terroir of the Loire Valley is so rich that Châteaux grow there”
The Position of the Loire AOCs
The success of the AOCs in the Loire Valley wine-growing area contributes to the growth of the global wine market. In fact, these sales are up by 8.2 % compared to a slowing down or even drop in the other wine-producing regions.
Accordingly, sales of Touraine increased by 32.6%, Saumur by 13% and Crémant de Loire by 9.6%.
Domaine de Champteloup – 100 ha – Anjou AOC
This estate has a long wine-growing tradition, since 400-year-old deeds mention vine cultivation on this estate. All of the traditional Anjou grape varieties are present. Wine production: 5,000 hl.
Château de Montguéret – 130 ha – Anjou and Saumur AOCs
This château, located in Anjou, is operated according to “Terra Vitis” specifications (sustained agriculture), whose label may be used for its different productions.
Wine production: 6,500 hl.
Domaine de la Forchetière – 80 ha – Muscadet AOC
An 80-ha estate of vines planted in the Nantes countryside. Muscadet Côtes de Grand lieu/lie and Gros Plant/lie, each representing a volume of 30,000 bottles, are bottled at the château and sold under the “Château de la Forchetière” label.
Wine production: 5,000 hl.
Domaine Les Martines – 5 Hectares – AOC Cheverny
Wine production: 200 hl
Modern, high-performance installations
The Loire Valley fermenting rooms operate three wine-producing cellars with 450 grape-growing partners who cover 1,000 hectares of vineyard in the Nantes and Haut-Poitou regions.
With its sites in Alsace and the Jura, the group is the leading French producer using the traditional method, excluding champagne, with a total production of 15 million bottles.
The GCF Group’s technical and qualitative expertise and the modern installations are the guarantors of this production.
Monitoring the estates and bottling on the property
One of the specific features of Lacheteau lies in the important share of business devoted to marketing estate-bottled wines (5 to 6 million bottles per year).
This policy is based on long-term work on two key points:
monitoring the estates and the quality of the wines,
the conditions for bottling on the property, which must be safe and in line with the wines’ organoleptic qualities.
Monitoring the estates
We monitor some one hundred estates over all of the Loire Valley appellations. These estates are selected for their ability to produce quality wines on a regular basis, irrespective of the varying climate conditions, and their desire to work in partnership with Lacheteau.
Some are given multi-annual contracts. The activity of these estates is monitored by planned visits from Lacheteau oenologists at key times in the wine-growing process and the ensuing wine production. They also organise more occasional technical meetings bringing together grape growers from the same area.
The blends are created through a rigorous selection of wines, vat by vat.
A large part of our estate bottling is done by our own lorry; the rest is sub-contracted to a partner bottler working according to our specifications. Our exacting quality standards on the property are the same as for our merchant-bottled wines and the procedures and controls are thus identical to them.
For the whites and rosés, we aim for “zero yeast” in the bottle thanks to 0.65 micron filtration and pre-bottling sterilisation procedures. For the Loire reds, we only filter the wines before bottling at 1.5 microns in order to preserve their organoleptic qualities and we check after bottling that there is a low germ content to ensure their stability. Our bottling service includes preparing the wines for bottling, in which we work in an oxygen-free atmosphere to prevent loss of quality before packaging.
The commercialisation of Lacheteau products
As for all wine merchant companies, the share of sales to traditional clientele is decreasing within a market that is itself in constant decline. Wine consumption has dropped by 40% over the past few decades: we are drinking less but better. We are therefore observing a significant drop in table wines to the benefit of celebratory wines (vins de pays and appellations). Lacheteau is present in all of the distribution niches. However, mass distribution now represents approximately 80% of wine commercialisation in France.
Lacheteau is seeing its market share increasing, as the company offers:
vinification products that correspond to what distribution wants as a product in the bottles with its label: the quality of the wine chosen is constant for a given vintage;
estate wines because of its leadership in estate bottling;
own brand wines. This evolution can be summarised as follows: Lacheteau is moving towards improving the quality of its low-cost generic wines while boosting the sales of its high-end products.
This evolution and its wine-making centres synonymous with quality have allowed Lacheteau to create for itself a positive image in distribution.