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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jim Budd

Donatien-Bahuaud and Pierre Chainier, two of the leading ngociants in the Loire, have agreed to work together. They have formed a new company called Bahuaud-Chainier, which will trade under the name Loire Premium from 1 November. Its estimated turnover will be FFr200 million and the combined holdings will include 150 hectares (ha) of vines in the Pays Nantais and Touraine. Jean-Ren Bahuaud and Pierre Chainier will be the joint managing directors. The two companies are complementary and each will remain independent,' explained Jean-Luc Blanchard, export director for Donatien-Bahuaud, and who will perform the same role in the new company. Margins are very low,' he added, so trading conditions are very difficult for Loire ngociants. The new company will be the third largest in the Loire still wine sector. We will be specialising so that we can offer wines that have better margins. For instance, we will now have access to Vouvray from the Clos de Nouys.' Sales of Touraine Sauvignon will also be developed and there may be a future venture in the central vineyards of the Loire. Donatien-Bahuaud is based near Nantes, at La Chapelle Heulin. With a turnover of FFr110 million, its strengths are in export and the traditional wholesale market in France, with wines such as Le Master - a Muscadet from the Svre-et-Maine - and a Loire vins de pays range called Le Diva. In contrast Pierre Chainier, which is based at Amboise and has a turnover of FFr60 million, focuses on the French supermarket sector. Worldwide competition is finally forcing change in the Loire, where business-wise little has moved in recent years. Earlier this year, seven Loire co-operatives agreed to market their wines jointly under the name Alliance Loire. It is quite possible that there will now be further restructuring in the Loire, which may involve companies such as Jean Beauquin, Rmy-Pannier and Vinival.