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LVMH’S 2012 Chateau d’Yquem Casualty of Failed Noble Rot

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LVMH’s Chateau d’Yquem Skips 2012 Vintage as Noble Rot Fails
Chateau d’Yquem, the luxury winemaker owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, canceled its 2012 Sauternes sweet wine vintage after the grapes failed to rot correctly following an abundance of rain. Source: Zachy's via Bloomberg News

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Chateau d’Yquem, the luxury winemaker owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, canceled its 2012 Sauternes sweet wine vintage after the grapes failed to rot correctly following an abundance of rain.

The weather prevented the grapes from developing the flavor, complexity and juice concentration needed to meet the chateau’s standards, Jon Elsen, an LVMH spokesman who works for Kekst & Co. in New York, said in an interview. Pierre Lurton, the winemaker’s chief executive officer, declared that the vintage would be canceled, Elsen said.

The Sauternes sweet white wine derives its flavor from grapes picked after a fungus, referred to as noble rot, sets in and boosts their sugar content, according to the winery’s website.

“It’s a good sign for the consumer to know that somebody is willing to forgo a year’s worth of revenues,” John Kapon, New York-based chief executive officer of wine auction company Acker Merrall & Condit, said today in an interview. “Then again, every producer is not owned by LVMH, so that probably helps.”

The missing vintage, which was reported earlier by Agence France-Presse, is unlikely to raise prices for the wine’s existing and coming vintages, Kapon said.

The missed year will cost $33 million in lost sales that would have come from about 100,000 bottles, AFP said. The winery also skipped production in 1992, 1974, 1972, 1964 and 1952, Elsen said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Duane D. Stanford in Atlanta at dstanford2@bloomberg.net; Andrew Roberts in Paris at aroberts36@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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