Until recently, the prevailing trend in luxury fashion acquisitions was suppliers. Chanel bought out the lamb hide tannery that had been providing it with leather. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton bought Heng Long, a crocodile tanning company. And Hermès, certain to not be outdone by any brand, started breeding its own crocodiles. Now that the top luxury houses and conglomerates have their supply chains on lock, they’ve turned to … food and drink.
Prada acquired, revamped and reopened (just in time for the Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016 collections) Pasticceria Marchesi, one of Milan's most iconic cafes. Close by sits the LVMH-owned Caffe Cova, which the Paris-based conglomerate purchased last year. And now, Chanel, whose owners collect high-end Bordeaux wineries, is entering the U.S. wine business with the purchase of a Napa Valley winery. Chanel joins LVMH, which has a significant Wine and Spirits division, as well as a number of other brands investing in wine.
As you may know, LVMH acquired the Clos des Lambrays Burgundy vineyard in April 2014, the latest in a consistent string of investments in various wine companies for a few decades now, including Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau d’Yquem, as part of its Estates & Wines division, which was formed after the company merged with champagne giant Moët Hennessy in 1987. As a result of the merger, LVMH acquired a dozen major brands, including Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Pérignon and Krug, as well as Hennessy cognac and Chateau d’Yquem.
Similarly, Salvatore Ferragamo and Roberto Cavalli have financial stakes in vineyards producing wine for retail. Lastly, in 2013, Artemis SA, the Pinault family holding company that controls luxury conglomerate Kering (parent to Balenciaga, Gucci, Saint Laurent, etc.) bought into the Araujo Estate Wines in Napa Valley, adding it to the roster of vineyards it owns, including Château Latour in Bordeaux, Domaine d'Eugénie in Burgundy and Château Grillet in the Rhône Valley.
Your move Hermes …