Stéphane Lefebvre takes over the management of Maison Le Star, a new Bordeaux-based wine merchant founded by Guillaume Brochard.

Aged 58, a graduate of ESLSCA and INSEAD, Stéphane Lefebvre has an extensive experience in the wine, champagne and spirits industry.

He began his career in the United States at Sopexa and then at Carrefour before joining Cointreau in 1988. For 12 years he was successively working as the Global Sales and Marketing Director and then as the Managing Director of Grands Vins de Gironde (Rémy-Cointreau group). ) and J. Lebègue in Bordeaux. In 2001 he joined Laurent Perrier Group as the Global Commercial Director before being appointed the Managing Director of Champagne de Castellane. From 2010, reconciling his two passions for Bordeaux and Champagne, he took over the management of Thienot France and developed a new French distribution subsidiary of the Thiénot Bordeaux-Champagnes group.

At the head of Maison Le Star, this recognized professional experienced in the development of  international brands will continue the policy carried out by the former leaders to develop and stimulate the trade of the estate wines as well as the brands of Maison Le Star both in France and abroad.

Founded by Guillaume Brochard at the end of 2016 after the acquisition of GRM and La Guyennoise, Maison Le Star brings together the production and trading activities of these two companies. With a team of around 120 people, a turnover of 75 million euros in 2016 and more than 500 hectares of vines, Maison Le Star has already gained its position as one of the key players in the Bordeaux wine trading.

Maison Le Star was made up of two companies : La Guyennoise located at Sauveterre-de-Guyenne and GRM at Pineuilh with their domains : Cazeau (AOC Bordeaux), Giraudot (AOC Bordeaux), Picon (AOC Bordeaux Supérieur), Guillaume Blanc (AOC Bordeaux Supérieur), Grandefont (AOC Bordeaux), Les Roques (AOC Côtes de Duras).  The company’s new brands are under development.

Maison Le Star, new giant in the Bordeaux wine trading
Sunday, November 6, 2016

Maison Le Star, new giant of the Bordeaux wine industry

 

Ivan Letessier

Published at 01:30

 

Supported by Chinese investors, a French businessman buys two local wine merchants and launches a wine brand at affordable prices to conquer the Middle Kingdom.

This newcomer in the Bordeaux region is determined to break the rules and habits. "We see the future for the affordable French wine abroad. It is necessary to use the strategies of the Chileans, Australians and Spanish to avoid the loss of the market share for France, "said Guillaume Brochard. This 50-year-old French businessman, who worked for Henkel and LVMH's watchmaker (Tag Heurer, Ebel), is known for having founded the Chinese jewelry brand Qeelin in 2004, before selling it in 2013 to Kering.

After having bought the Bordeaux wine merchant and producer GRM in March 2016 this entrepreneur living in Shanghai signed the acquisition of its market competitor La Guyennoise which is twice as bigger. It made a good basis to build a new group called Maison Le Star - Vineyards and Châteaux. With more than 500 hectares of vineyards, 45 million bottles sold in 2015 for a total turnover of 75 million euros, the company of 120 employees is already in the list of the top 3 in volume (and the top 10 in value) Bordeaux merchants behind Castel and Grands Chais de France.

For this project which he has been working on for a year, Guillaume Brochard reinvesting a large part of his capital from the sale of his shares in Qeelin, has joined forces with Partrick Thomas, the former Hermes boss, and two Chinese investors, including Ji Qi the head of the Huazhu hotel group, a partner of the Accord Hotels in China.

Maison Le Star owns eight estates, including Château Cazeau (AOC Bordeaux), Château Giraudot (AOC Bordeaux), Château Picon (AOC Bordeaux Supérieur), Château Guillaume Blanc (AOC Bordeaux Supérieur), Château Grandefont (AOC Bordeaux), Château Les Roques (AOC Côtes de Duras) that represent less than 10% of the group's sales, whose main activity is the trading and development of the blended wines from the various estates. It also produces and bottles some store brands, such as Auchan's Bordeaux bio.

"Breaking the habits"

Guillaume Brochard has just created a distribution company in Shanghai hiring twenty employees. There is every ground to convince the estate owners to put him in charge of the marketing of their wines in China.

"My project is to launch a new French wine brand in the summer 2017 with the marketing campaigns in France, China and the United States" said Guillaume Brochard.

The businessman’s ambition is to create from scratch a new wine brand. "My project is to launch a new French wine brand in the summer 2017 with the marketing campaigns in France, China and the United States" he says. We will launch a range of the Bordeaux wines but with a different market approach which means without playing on the appellations or grape varieties to put them away from the image of the terroir or any other traditional wine codes. Within 5 years my ambition is to make our brand one of the leading French wine brands in the 8-15 euros segment”.

For Guillaume Brochard the marketing and high volumes are the only solution to win in the middle-price segment. “The appellations created over the last 20 years have promoted the quality as their main virtue. Indeed, the French wines are known all over the world for Grands Crus classes. However, we have chosen to move to the middle-price segment where at the moment we are losing our market share vis-à-vis the Chilean, Australian, American or Spanish wines”, says Guillaume Brochard. “It is our weak point because it is this segment that pulls the global market. In China which has become the largest market in volume 50% of wine consumption accounts for the young people under 35 years old who are ready to pay between 5 and 10 euros per bottle. There is a great opportunity in this fast-growing segment of the middle-price wines which has not yet been captured by the French wine industry”.

BIRTH OF A NEW ACTOR OF THE BORDEAUX WINE INDUSTRY
Sunday, November 6, 2016

After the acquisition of the GRM group last March, Guillaume Brochard announced the acquisition of another wine selling company LA GUYENNOISE with its domains: Châteaux Cazeau and Giraudot (AOC Bordeaux). These two transactions will give birth to a new player in the Bordeaux wine trade - MAISON LE STAR.

With an annual marketed volume of almost 45 million bottles for the year 2015 and more than 500 hectares of vineyards, MAISON LE STAR, a trading company founded and chaired by Guillaume Brochard, is becoming a new high-level operator among the Bordeaux wine merchants.

Common values and strong roots in the terroir

Both producers and traders for several generations, GRM and LA GUYENNOISE share a common corporate culture, an attachment to family values and the terroir

The new group will allow MAISON LE STAR to develop synergies between the two companies on the international markets while expanding the commercial influence of each entity. GRM is particularly well established in France while LA GUYENNOISE is one of the leading operators in China where it carries out half of its activity. The geographical proximity of the two partners as well as their common supply chains also contribute to the merge.

The marketing strategy of this new company has three main directions:

  • The merge of the two Bordeaux-based companies will give an opportunity to enlarge the existing wine range of them focusing on the middle-priced wines.
  • The holding will have an exclusive trade right on its estate wines including: Château Cazeau (AOC Bordeaux), Château Giraudot (AOC Bordeaux), Château Picon (AOC Bordeaux Supérieur), Château Guillaume Blanc (AOC Bordeaux Supérieur), Château Grandefont (AOC Bordeaux), Château Les Roques (AOC Côtes de Duras)
  • The launch of a new premium wine brand is planned for the year 2017.

The new importing company MAISON LE STAR that has just been opened in Shanghai will be responsible for the development of these three business directions in China.

GRM is specialized in the production and distribution of Bordeaux and Southwestern wines. Based in Pineuilh it employed 45 people and marketed nearly 15 million bottles in 2015 including the estate wines, brands and innovative products such as Be Pink or Rosé on Ice

Founded by Michel Martin, LA GUYENNOISE is located at Sauveterre-de-Guyenne, in the heart of Entre-Deux-Mers region. It employs 70 people. Offering a remarkable selection of estate wines from all appellations of the Bordeaux region, it is also well equipped. LA GUYENNOISE marketed nearly 30 million bottles in 2015.

Merge between GRM and LA GUYENNOISE
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The merge between two major companies in the Bordeaux wine trading should allow the new group to strengthen its business expertise in the core wine segment and contribute to the progressive development of both entities.

The complementary know-how of these two companies should thus broaden their commercial influence. GRM is particularly well established in France while LA GUYENNOISE is one of the leading operators in China where it carries out half of its activity.

Common values and strong roots in the terroir

Both producers and traders for several generations, GRM and LA GUYENNOISE share a common corporate culture, an attachment to family values and the terroir. The geographical proximity of the two partners as well as their common supply chains also contribute to the success of their merge.

This alliance between GRM and LA GUYENNOISE should thus allow to develop synergies on the international markets and would put Guillaume Brochard and his holding Maison Le Star, at the head of more than 500 hectares of vineyards in the Bordeaux region and 45 million bottles sold per year.

No complete merge will take place.

GRM is specialized in the production and distribution of the Bordeaux and Southwestern wines. Based in Pineuilh, it sells 15 million bottles per year including the estate wines, brands and innovative products such as Be Pink, Rosé on Ice ... In March 2016 Guillaume Brochard, the creator of the luxury jewelry brand Qeelin, became its main shareholder.

Founded by Michel Martin LA GUYENNOISE is located at Sauveterre-de-Guyenne in the heart of Entre-Deux-Mers region and employs around 70 people. Producing wine in its two domains:  Châteaux Cazeau and Giraudot, LA GUYENNOISE sells 30 million bottles per year. Offering a large range of  estate wines from all appellations in the Bordeaux region, it has an efficient equipment and a large storage facility perfectly adapted.