Gers: The arrival of wine merchant Sudvin, a subsidiary of giant Cordier, is a cause for concern
Sudvin, a subsidiary of the giant Cordier, takes up a position in the Gers to supply itself with white wine. An arrival that elicited a rather mixed reception, particularly on the part of the cooperatives.
Sudvin Gascogne calmly arrived in the Gers in early July. “Sudvin is a wine merchant who is part of a group that bottles,” says oenologist and buyer Jean Leplus, originally from Lupiac and representing Sudvin Gascogne. We want to develop our ranges in Gascony and on white wines by sourcing in the Gers department. This means that Sudvin Gascogne wants to find must and grapes in the department with local partners. If Sudvin Gascogne is a development of Sudvin, a company based in Béziers in the Languedoc, it is above all a subsidiary of the powerful Cordier by InVivo group.
A wine giant
Cordier is already the 3rd player in the French wine sector and his ambitions push him towards export. Knowing that Côte de Gascogne is one of the best-selling white wines in the world is envious. Other big players have already positioned themselves in the Gers, such as the Distillerie de la Tour. After 40 years of working on the appellation, improving the vintages, conquering the markets, it is tempting to hang the wagons on the train that has already started, confides a manager of a Gers cooperative. But Cordier, backed by InVivo – one of Europe’s leading agribusiness groups – and with a turnover of 10 billion euros, has immeasurable resources.
Cellar 931 with a capacity of 120,000 hectoliters in Gondrin has already been rented to store Sudvin Gascogne’s purchases. Jean Leplus wants to calm down. “Sudvin was already buying wines in the department through partners. There it is about developing the ranges of Gascogne, because they also do the bottling. »
However, he recognizes that the creation of the Cordier by InVivo group in the Gers sector foreshadows commercial expansion. “They want to shift their white wine production to Gascony. As for white wines, there are not many areas of possible development, Bordeaux and Languedoc do not have large white wine productions. In the Languedoc, Sudvin worked with cooperatives and producers. At Sudvin Gascogne the situation is different. The aim is to find partner producers and buy the must and grapes from them. Cellar 931 is used for processing.
When asked if Sudvin Gascogne will become a competitor for the wine players already based in the Gers, Jean Leplus replies: “Not necessarily, we are bringing a new portfolio with us. There is no direct competition. This will make it possible to bring dynamism and choice of outlets to the Gers for producers. We don’t want to destroy values. “Contacts with producers are ongoing and local elected officials would prefer to keep a close eye on this arrival of a competitor.
At the cooperatives, the reception is more mixed, but we want to avoid prejudice. “The unknown is always scary,” says Olivier Bourdet Pees, General Manager of Plaimont. This requires vigilance on our part. When they are absolute giants who come to conquer the added value without nourishing the territory, they become dangerous. He prefers to believe, like other Gers actors, that Sudvin Gascogne’s goals will help promote the Gers wines. “The financial strength of such corporations can be used to conquer new markets with high added value with investments. »
The other possibility is to skim off production capacities. Sudvin Gascogne denies this. The year was bad in the vines almost everywhere. “We don’t want to drive too fast. We work on quality, time, trust and in the long term. The volume issue is not an obsession. Sudvin Gascogne’s installation is being followed with great interest by the Gers wine industry.