St. Emilion Flagship

'Circle of Friends' Chateau
St Emilion Grand Cru

This property is currently under offer from our group and a Letter of Intent granting us exclusivity to negotiate the acquisition of the vineyard has been signed. 

The Property

vineyardsThe 'Circle of Friends' Chateau is a prime wine producing St Emilion estate of 6.5 hectares just 3kms from the beautiful medieval village of St. Emilion thus allowing members easy access to the delights of this beautiful and ancient settlement.  The vineyard is in a single parcel surrounding the chateau and winery.  The winemaking chai and storage cellars have been carefully designed to maximise efficiency in the winemaking process. The plan is for Louis Mitjavile to take responsibility for the entire viticultural and winemaking process.  In addition, only a single employee is needed to provide best-practice continuity and local expertise; only minimal equipment is needed since we intend to sub-contract most viticultural processes to an outside contractor.

The vineyard is situated on the sloping south-west facing high ground. It has long unspoilt views towards the village of St. Emilion with its famous church tower dominating the skyline in the middle distance.  

It sits on sandy and clay soils with some gravel over limestone bedrock and currently produces 80% merlot, and 20% cabernet franc from vines aged between 25-30 years. The vineyard is gently sloping with no obstructions; the land is well ventilated and well drained.  Planting has been done at a density of 5,500 vines per hectare.  Assuming normal climatic conditions, the planned yield will be at the rate of 30 hectolitres (hl) per hectare for the 'micro cuveé, Etoile, after allowing for green harvesting, and a yield 40 - 45hl per ha for our main label.

The Chai

The chai is new and consists of the latest state of the art equipment.  It inspires confidence with its simple layout that is easy to manage and presents an excellent showcase for quality production.  At the far end of the vat house is space for barrels to be stored for wine aging which is likely to be 12 to 18 months.  The space is also sufficient to provide for 100% new oak maturation. The chai has ample room for increasing production for an additional 0.5 ha of vineyards without additional expense.

The Economics

The price for the property is with only limited stock. In addition to the costs of the acquisition and development of the chateau, there are to be reserve funds to cover planned improvements to the vineyards and to purchase an additional parcel of exceptional terroir as and when it may become available. 

Current operations

Being a St. Emilion Grand Cru the property produces only red wine.  The annual production is about 40,000 bottles which is governed by the weather and the quantity of quality grapes harvested each year.  The cost of production is currently around 4 euros per bottle including the cost of bottling and packaging.

Plans for single vineyard 'micro cuvee'P1190292

After consultation with specialist soil analysts, we intend to designate up to a 1 hectare parcel of our best terrior from which to create our prestige micro cuvee, to benefit from the expertise already demonstrated by Louis Mitjavile at his various estates.  The vines will be nurtured and managed with great care.  There will be green harvesting in order to restrict yields to just 30 hl per hectare and ensure that the resultant fruit and its juice is of the highest possible consentration, minerality and complexity.  These grapes will be carefully vinified in the chai to the highest possible quality, using the best barrels available, and then bottled under a new brand with an elegant newly designed label and bottle packaging. In order to allow these wines to mature further, and to enhance their exclusivity, they will never sold on the open market.  

Primary label: Marketing

In addition to the micro cuvee, there will be a primary label that will benefit from the same supervision of our micro cuvee, but will be harvested at 40-45 hl per hectare. The wine will be sold directly to the on-trade in restaurants and a limited number of wine shops in our primary markets using management's significiant expertise. Direct sales to British and other buyers wil be encouraged via 'Friends of the Chateau' on-line marketing campaign.

Construction plans

The property benefits from its  location on a very quiet contry road.  Using an appointed local architect, the plan is to convert the internally unfinished chateau into two luxury en suite bedrooms with views over the vineyards towards St. Emilion skyline.  On the ground floor, there will be two reception rooms, a kitchen and dining room and a tasting room also to be used for occasional wine and special events.  Both rooms will have French doors opening onto a private patio surrounding a swimming pool.  There will be a separate seating area taking advantage of the long views - perfect for sundowners!