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Published:  23 July, 2008

Two of Bordeaux's largest ngociant firms, Dulong-Huet and CVBG Dourthe Kressmann, have extended their operations to include production on a significant scale. The developments follow the growing recognition among leading figures in Bordeaux that ngociants need to integrate vertically if they are to achieve the consistency, quality and quantity necessary for brands, the best hope of meeting the challenge from the New World. Other ngociant firms can be expected to follow suit. Dulong-Huet completed the expansion of its winery at Saint-Savin in August, in time for the 2001 vintage, doubling capacity to 35,000 hectolitres (388,000 9-litre cases). Chairman Eric Dulong describes it as 'the jewel in the crown of our group', while the company claims to be 'the first Bordeaux trading house to vinify, blend and mature wines on this scale'. AC Bordeaux Rouge, AC Bordeaux Blanc, AC Bordeaux Suprieur and AC Ctes de Bourg will be produced in 2001. The company says it has worked closely with its growers to obtain fruit which meets 'very strict specifications'. Dourthe Kressmann has produced 33,333 9-litre cases of Bordeaux Rouge, from fruit sourced from 18 growers with a total of 64 hectares. President Jean-Marie Chadronnier says that the growers were selected several months before the vintage on the basis of their fruit quality, and that all had a minimum planting density of 4,000 vines/ha. Explaining the need for stricter control over supply, Chadronnier says: 'It is difficult to find wines which please consumers in certain markets, such as the UK. The solution is for growers to produce good grapes which we know how to vinify. It is possible to make very good Bordeaux rouge without being a cru class!' He expects to expand production from next year.