Luis Antunes, an old friend from the eRobertParker Bulletin Board, broke the news in the Wine Spectator. His article began, “The Fladgate Partnership, which owns Port producers Taylor, Fonseca and Croft, has just purchased Real Companhia Vinícola do Norte de Portugal.” Let’s just say that really caught my attention, after having interviewed both CEO’s, Adrian Bridge and Pedro Silva Reis (with Zev, Life on the Douro). Kudos to Luis for being the first to report this story.
For those of you who’ve not had a chance to read it yet, you can read the article on the Wine Spectator site: One of Port's Biggest Players Grows Bigger.
In emails to Adrian Bridge, to check on the accuracy of the claim that the company had indeed been purchased and also to satisfy my curiosity of whether RCV’s Port or wines had been included in the deal, Adrian responded (and agreed to allow this to go on the record): “Roy, this has nothing to do with the port so no stocks or wood was included.”
Additionally, Adrian helped to clarify a few other points:
“We have not bought RCV. What we have bought are the installations in Vila Nova de Gaia where we have been a tenant since 2008 for part of our bottling lines. By becoming the owner of the site we will now place all our bottling on that location, provide bottling services to RCV and we will rent space to them to continue their business. They will be restructuring their company to reflect the changes. They are now paying us a rent. Being able to buy such a large, ready to move into, set of installations so that we can gain major cost efficiency in year one is unusual. Owning another 23 acres of a city centre with great road connections is a sensible long term investment.
"From our perspective we gain a massive site that will allow us to concentrate our operations and free up more space, over time, in the historic centre of the city. We had purchased a site in Avintes to merge all our lines into a new set of buildings in 2015 – that project will now not happen and the Avintes land will be sold. This is about setting the company up correctly for future generations.
"It is important that you understand that RCV will continue to function as an independent company with extensive land holdings in the Douro and a major focus on table wine. A number of other Port companies that have bought other businesses in the recent consolidation have yet to merge their bottling lines. I expect that we will see more of this. It makes good sense.”
Congratulations to: The Fladgate Partnership on their progressive purchase in Gaia!