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Published:  23 July, 2008

By David Williams

Leading Burgundy-based ngociant the Boisset Group has formed its second joint venture with a major UK supplier in the space of a year, by teaming up with WaverleyTBS to completely overhaul the portfolio of the Meursault-based house of Ropiteau. The new JV follows - and is completely independent from - the partnership formed by Bibendum and Boisset to set up Boisset's UK office last February. Its aims are to make Ropiteau a top 10 brand in both the on- and off-trade in the UK and Europe, using a three-tiered pyramid' approach featuring wines from several regions of France. The "home" of the brand will be Meursault, and will provide the "icon" wines, but the idea is to get France away from thinking purely on a regional basis,' said WaverleyTBS director of wine Hew Dalrymple. We are looking at the example of the New World, such as Penfolds and Concha y Toro, which have used the idea of a ladder brand so well.' The new Ropiteau range, which will be launched at the France Under One Roof tasting at Lord's in March, will feature three tiers': the Icon range, featuring Ropiteau's Meursault village and premier-cru wines, alongside a selection from other top Burgundy crus such as Chambolle-Musigny and Puligny-Montrachet; the Classic' tier, featuring wines from a range of classic' French regions retailing between 5.99 and 9 and including a Fleurie, a Chablis, a Beaujolais (Villages) and a Ctes-du-Rhne; and a range of varietal and dual-varietal Vins de Pays d'Oc at 4.49-4.99. The range features labels designed by London agency DJPA, and will be backed by above-the-line trade and consumer press ads - with the strapline Wines for Every Occasion' - and a significant promotional budget. Ropiteau makes fantastic wines, but you could say that it was "just another Burgundy house", and that there are loads of those,' Dalrymple added. We had to improve the way Ropiteau was branded. It's about combining authenticity with accessibility - a bit like Kettle Chips or Lindt chocolate.' The brand will be distributed by WaverleyTBS in the UK, and will use both WaverleyTBS's European network and Boisset's own sales team to push the brand in Europe.