Photographer: Pepe Franco/Cover/Getty Images

Rosé Maker to the Queen Eyes Spain's Chivite

  • Sogrape, maker of Mateus Rose, is in talks to buy winemaker
  • Chivite, founded in 1647, is majority owned by Spanish banks

Sogrape Vinhos SA, the Portuguese winemaker whose Mateus Rosé wines have been served to Queen Elizabeth II and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, has bid for 370-year-old J. Chivite Family Estates SL, people familiar with the matter said.

Cava producer Cavas Castillo de Perelada SA has also made a binding offer for the closely held Spanish winemaker, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. A deal could value Chivite, which is majority owned by Spanish banks including Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, at 25 million euros ($30 million) to 35 million euros including debt, the people said.

The sale of Chivite, which is still about 20 percent owned by its founding family, is being managed by Project Phoenix, a joint venture controlled by Alantra Partners SA and McKinsey & Co. that targets companies with high debt loads, the people said. Spanish news website Vozpopuli reported Tuesday that Chivite’s owners were nearing a sale.

Representatives for Sogrape, Perelada and Chivite didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Phoenix declined to comment.

Chivite traces its roots back to 1647 and produces wines such as Chivite Las Fincas, a collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Juan Mari Arzak, according to its website. Sogrape estimates that it’s sold more than a billion bottles of its trademark rosé Mateus, whose bottle shape was inspired by soldiers’ canteens in World War I.

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