Maisons and Domaines Henriot announced Tuesday that it has purchased a majority interest in Beaux Frères, which was founded in 1986 by Parker and his brother-in-law, Michael Etzel. “Beaux Frères” means “brothers in law” in French.
Etzel discovered an 88-acre pig farm for sale while vacationing in Oregon in 1986. He and his beaux frère Parker bought the property and eventually planted 35 acres of mostly Pinot Noir vines, along with investment from a third partner, French-Canadian Robert Roy.Etzel will still be a partner in the business and will continue to be the company president. Wine Spectator reported that Parker “retains only a small percentage” of his shares. Parker could not be reached for comment.
Parker never reviewed Beaux Frères wines for the Wine Advocate, but their ripe style, unusual for the time in Oregon, did find fans at Wine Spectator. Last year, 2014 Beaux Frères Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge The Beaux Frères Vineyard was named No. 3 on Wine Spectator’s top 100 list.
Etzel told Wine Spectator that last year, both Parker and Roy approached him and asked to sell their shares, but he did not have the funds to buy them out.
“Both of them were of the same mindset, ‘Let’s just simplify our lives’,” Etzel told Wine Spectator.
Henriot is a family-owned company founded in 1808, and – unusually – the Henriot family was able to buy it back in 1994 after selling to luxury brand company LVMH in 1987.
Perhaps having seen the wisdom of diversification, in 1995 Henriot acquired Burgundy negociant Bouchard Père & Fils. In 1998, it bought Chablis producer William Fèvre. It also owns a property in Beaujolais and a producer of Crème de Cassis. Beaux Frères will be its first winery outside France.
“The addition of the Beaux-Frères Winery is a perfect fit with the traditions and values of my family built over many generations,” Gilles de Larouzière, President of Maisons & Domaines Henriot, said in a press release. “Our unflinching standards, combined with the extraordinary winemaking talent of Michael Etzel, enriches our group tremendously.”