Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About
Burgundy’s largest wine producer and one of the world’s largest family-owned producers of good quality wine, with wineries in Burgundy, Beaujolais, the Rhône Valley, the south of France, and in California’s Napa Valley, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley, and Monterey.

It was formed as recently as 1961 by Jean-Claude and Claudine Boisset when Jean-Claude was just 18. The early business was successful enough to acquire rival négociants Charles Viénot and Thomas-Bassot in 1982. The company was floated on the stock market in 1985 and took over Pierre Ponnelle, Morin Père et Fils, Jaffelin, and Bouchard Ainé during the next six years. In 1994 the company then diversified into sparkling wine production via such acquisitions as Varichon et Clerc and Charles de Fère while consolidating its Côte de Beaune holdings by buying Ropiteau Frères, followed in the late 1990s by the Cellier de Samsons and Mommessin in Beaujolais, J. Moreau in Chablis, Domaine Bernard (now Louis Bernard) in the Rhône, and the fruit liqueur business L’Héritier-Guyot. Further acquisitions in Beaujolais and the Languedoc, including Caroline de Beaulieu, followed. In 1998, Boisset formed its first overseas joint venture to build Le Clos Jordanne winery with vincor of Canada, now part of constellation. Others followed in 2003 with Pisano in Uruguay to form Progreso and Corpora in Chile to form Veranda. That same year the Boisset family regained full ownership of the company, now styled négociant-éleveur with a commitment to organic and biodynamic viticulture in its flagship 40-ha/99-acre vineyard holding Domaine de la Vougeraie. The term ‘viniculteur’ was coined to stress Boisset’s degree of control of quality in vineyards both owned and bought from.