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WINE

French luxury group LVMH bags top Californian vineyard

French luxury group LVMH on Tuesday announced it was adding to its stock of fine wines and spirits by taking over Colgin Cellars, a deluxe vineyard in California's Napa Valley.

French luxury group LVMH bags top Californian vineyard

Current owners Ann Colgin and her husband Joe Wender will sell a 60 percent stake to the world's biggest luxury group, which counts Veuve Clicquot champagne and Hennessy cognac among its alcohol brands.

The deal values the estate at 100 million euros, a source close to the takeover said, while Colgin and Wender will maintain their leadership roles.

Colgin, a former wine consultant at Sotheby's, founded the vineyard in 1992. Its four red wines, which sell for up to $600 a bottle (511 euros) are sold to high-end stores and restaurants around the world.

LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault welcomed the announcement, adding the acquisition was part of a strategy of “enriching our collection of iconic wines”.

FARMING

Cold snap ‘could slash French wine harvest by 30 percent’

A rare cold snap that froze vineyards across much of France this month could see harvest yields drop by around a third this year, France's national agriculture observatory said on Thursday.

Cold snap 'could slash French wine harvest by 30 percent'
A winemaker checks whether there is life in the buds of his vineyard in Le Landreau, near Nantes in western France, on April 12th, following several nights of frost. Photo: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

Winemakers were forced to light fires and candles among their vines as nighttime temperatures plunged after weeks of unseasonably warm weather that had spurred early budding.

Scores of vulnerable fruit and vegetable orchards were also hit in what Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie called “probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.”

IN PICTURES: French vineyards ablaze in bid to ward off frosts

The government has promised more than €1 billion in aid for destroyed grapes and other crops.

Based on reported losses so far, the damage could result in up to 15 million fewer hectolitres of wine, a drop of 28 to 30 percent from the average yields over the past five years, the FranceAgriMer agency said.

That would represent €1.5 to €2 billion of lost revenue for the sector, Ygor Gibelind, head of the agency’s wine division, said by videoconference.

It would also roughly coincide with the tally from France’s FNSEA agriculture union.

Prime Minister Jean Castex vowed during a visit to damaged fields in southern France last Saturday that the emergency aid would be made available in the coming days to help farmers cope with the “exceptional situation.”

READ ALSO: ‘We’ve lost at least 70,000 bottles’ – French winemakers count the cost of late frosts

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