And it seems that the house of Louis Royer Cognac agrees, having just completed a deal to buy 34 hectares of prime vines from previous owner, Bertrand Giraudet. This might not seem so strange, you may think at first. But historically the house of Louis Royer has never actually owned any vineyards. Instead they simply purchased their eaux-de-vie from growers and farmers with whom they had long-term contracts.
Both parties are, naturally, being somewhat coy about the cost of the transaction. However, if you consider that a hectare of Grande Champagne vines can fetch up to €60,000, then we’re talking a substantial sum of money.
Louis Royer Cognac has a particularly interesting history. Founded in Jarnac in 1853, the Japanese giant, Suntory, purchased the house in 1989. Even with this influence, the house is still very much family run.
Of the vineyard purchase, Jerome Royer, Director of Purchasing, says, “This is a logical approach. It’s not in the tradition of trading houses to have vines. But we want to have a walk in the vineyards, to learn to work with it.”
Watch this space – it’s certainly interesting times for the cognac industry. And each house needs to ensure their own continuity of stocks of eaux-de-vie in order to survive. Louis Royer may well have just played one of their trump cards…