Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Louis Latour Agencies tasting: "We are constantly looking to expand"

Published:  27 January, 2023

Louis Latour Agencies, owned by Maison Louis Latour, the historic Burgundy grower negotiant, showcased its small but impressive portfolio at the Haberdasher’s Hall in central London on Wednesday.

With its 19-strong collection of producers, featuring new additions Château Sainte Roseline, Château des Demoiselles from Provence and Cobalte Vodka, a grape vodka made in the Champagne region, Louis Latour continues to demonstrate its commitment to family-owned estates.

There were a host of other new releases on display, including a selection of 2021 Burgundy from Louis Latour and Simonnet-Febvre. 

Several key figures were also in attendance, chief among them the newly appointed head of Maison Louis Latour, Florent Latour, along with commercial director Bruno Pepin, plus Aurélie Bertin from Château Sainte Roseline and Justin Taylor of Wakefield Wines. 

Florent Latour succeeded his brother, Louis-Fabrice, who passed away in September 2022 after 33 years at the company, ensuring that after over 200 years the company still remained family-owned. 

Born in Beaune, Florent Latour is a graduate of HEC and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. Before taking on his Louis Latour Agencies role, he worked in the technology industry in France and the US.

In spite of challenging times, the company has remained resilient, recording its biggest year in both turnover and volume, according to Will Oatley, MD of Louis Latour Agencies

He told Harpers: “2021 was a record year for us in volume, turnover and margin contribution, and then last year, we took it to another level.

“It’s predominantly down to the appetite for Grand Cru Burgundy, which is quite extraordinary when you consider the 30-50% price increases across the board, caused by the chaos of the 2021 vintage, from entry-level or the way through to Grand Cru.”

In 2021, early-April frosts in Burgundy trimmed overall production by more than 50% and by as much as 80% in villages such as St Aubin, causing demand and prices to sky-rocket. 

“It sounds insane, especially in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, but it’s that half per cent of high net worth individuals that equate to 30-40% of our whole middle tier, and they are looking to diversify their own collections.

“It’s not necessarily people just buying to drink, it’s people like those who use Cult Wine, who are buying and selling as part of a wider investment plan.”

Oatley paints a picture of an exclusive network of brokers, all selling to the same high-net-worth individuals. It’s a small yet captive audience and one that has an increasing desire to invest in fine wine as opposed to cars or property.

The challenge for Louis Latour is to position itself as the most viable option for those looking to invest in wine, and one way to do that is to diversify its portfolio.

Oatley said, “We are constantly looking to expand agency-wise, for instance, we have a massive void in California that we need to eventually fill. But we have a very clear strategy when it comes to new agencies, in that they have to be family-run, share our ethos and don’t cannibalise our current portfolio.”