The Marques de la Concordia Family of Wines (MCFW) group - one of the ten largest wine companies in Spain - is insolvent. The group includes prominent wineries such as Federico Paternina, Lagunilla and Rioja Santiago in Rioja, Vega Reina in Rueda and Marqués de Monistrol Cava. MCFW's parent company, The Haciendas Company, also holds a 50 per cent stake in wine producer Marques del Griñon, which owns vineyards and wineries in several appellations in Spain. 42.5 per cent of The Haciendas Company is owned by private equity firm Metric Capital Partners, which paid 23 million euros for it nine years ago.
According to the Spanish commercial register, MCFW achieved a turnover of 48 million euros in 2018, but only 33 million euros in 2022. Debts rose to 64.4 million euros this year. Metric Capital Partners is now accusing the former director of The Haciendas Company, Victor Redondo Sierra, of diverting 45 million euros and assets to conceal losses with the help of an opaque network of companies and shareholdings. In written statements on insolvency applications to a court in Madrid, Metric Capital Partners allegedly declared that Redondo Sierra had disposed of the group's assets and rights as if they were his private property. The number of reciprocal operations between the 32 companies is so large that it would be impossible to trace the final whereabouts of the cash flow. A court in Madrid will now have to decide whether the company's bankruptcy was caused by fraudulent internal mismanagement or by external factors such as the pandemic, or both.
Grupo Rioja, the association of large wine companies that controls the Rioja Regulatory Council (Consejo Regulador), attributes the decline in red wine sales in recent years to the pandemic, Brexit, energy price increases and inflation. However, the massive expansion of vineyard areas and overproduction, which could only be sold at rock-bottom prices, may also have contributed to the region's decline, as the website wine-searcher.com writes.
According to preliminary figures from Grupo Rioja, Rioja's total sales are likely to have fallen by 5 per cent in 2023. According to the Bodegas Familiares de Rioja (BFR) association, which withdrew from the management of the control council last year, at least 150 million litres of wine remain unsold in stock. The Melquior winery, which cultivates 80 hectares, has also filed for bankruptcy. According to wine-searcher, further co-operatives and winegrowers will announce closures in the coming weeks. A few days ago, BFR called on the Rioja Control Council to grub up 6,700 hectares of vineyards - equivalent to almost 10 per cent of the region's wine-growing area.
(al / source: wine-searcher)