Do you (really) know the trade of a winerie ?

Copyright © A.Loubet / UMVR

Usually, the month of January – and more particularly our “Festival Millésime” event – highlights the tasting of the new vintage. The opportunity to invite professionals, and especially brokers and wineries concerned by the sale of bulk wine from Cru Rasteau to meet with the producers of the appellation, to exchange wishes around a few samples ready to be tasted.

Until we can organize this annual event, hopefully in the spring! why not introduce you to the trade of a trader? Do you know him (really!)?

Frédéric LAVAU (on the right in the picture), from Maison Lavau / Château Maucoil * and L’UMVR (L’Union des Maisons de Vins du Rhône) teach you everything. You will soon be knowledgeable on the subject !

To begin with, the UMVR, the Union des Maisons de Vins du Rhône, is a professional union that brings together the wine merchants (wineries) of the Rhône Valley *. Chaired by Etienne MAFFRE, it counts among its members the largest wineries in the Rhône Valley.

The profession of trader according to the UMVR can be summed up today under the name of Wineries du Rhône: feet in the vineyard, head to the market; they are the link between upstream and downstream.

And did you know ? But there are in fact several trades under the same name ! Here they are :

1 / The wine-maker : He buys grapes from wine growers, which they vinify before marketing the wines thus produced. He can also vinify on behalf of producers.

2 / The bulk merchant : He buys, stores, assembles and resells wines in bulk. He can directly ship wines he has selected for his distributor customers.

3 / The merchant, breeder and bottler is in touch with upstream and downstream: He rigorously selects the wines from producers or other merchants, raises them in his cellars, proceeds to their packaging and then markets them.

4 / The producer trader is all at the same time: producer, winemaker, breeder and bottler. This is the case for almost all of the Rhône Valley merchants, who produce a more or less significant part of their supply.

The profession has evolved a lot over the years, it is now more and more oriented upstream, that is to say that it includes more purchase of vineyards, vinifications, partnerships with producers as well !

Concerning the bulk market, Frédéric Lavau specifies “that it remains central for trading houses in general, because it is through this that they access the distribution market in France and to export. Purchases are made. generally in two ways: either by a purchase at time T according to market demands; or thanks to a winegrower / merchant relationship woven over time which makes it possible to perpetuate a quality predefined by precise specifications. a relationship of trust ! “.

And to continue on the “Festival Millésime” event: “This event organized by the Rasteau appellation gives us the advantage of being able to taste a large selection of samples of the new vintage, so we can assess its homogeneity, its intrinsic quality. of each vintage and possibly discover some nuggets from very qualitative selection. This also gives us the opportunity to meet the producers at least once a year, it is a moment of sharing and friendship “.

The traders as much as the producers help to promote an AOC, a Cru des Côtes-du-Rhône like Rasteau. Wine professions are professions which are carried out out of passion and Frédéric is convinced that it is necessary to talk about them as much as possible to as many people as possible: “If we are able to convey messages and attract the attention of our people. interlocutors, we have already come halfway. This communication is an essential aspect of the promotion of our Crus in the Rhone Valley. Moreover, it is even more true for Rasteau this year which celebrates the 10th anniversary of its accession in as a Cru des Côtes du Rhône. 2021 will therefore be the year in which we will communicate on the excellence of its wines! “.

For the UMVR, just like Inter Rhône or Rasteau as Cru des Côtes-du-Rhône, the collective is at the heart of the action.

The Wineries du Rhône claim to be the creators of collective values :

  • Be as close as possible to the terroir: the Wineries are located in the heart of the vineyard,
  • Participate in the growth of collective brands such as PDOs and therefore like Rasteau,
  • Ensure the sustainability of knowledge specific to the Rhône Valley,
  • Live and work together through upstream involvement, promote work in partnership with producers.

Trading houses link professions, actors, men, women, intentions, around exceptional terroirs.
Their brands are signs of a shared commitment. That of creating value for them, for their territory, and for the occupants of this territory.
By placing the lowest common denominator, the human being, at the center of all their decisions, they have already won a bet: that of combining the pleasure of an exceptional product, wine, with the success of an entire industry.

To finish with the appellation: Body, generosity and elegance are the 3 words to describe Cru Rasteau wines according to UMVR and Frédéric Lavau.

For more information:


6 rue des Trois Faucons
CS 90513
84024 AVIGNON cedex
Tél +33 (0)4 90 27 24 16 / 18
Email :

* Maison LAVAU was created in 1965 by Anne Marie and Jean Guy LAVAU in the town of Sablet, it was an atypical trader for the time because the company already had a foothold in winemaking since we bought grapes from local winegrowers . In 2000, when my brother Benoit and I took over the family business, we focused our activity 100% on wine making. We work in partnership with 380 producers and buy all the appellations of the southern Rhône Valley including Rasteau. In 2010, we had the opportunity to get a little more involved upstream by purchasing our first wine property in the town of Valréas and in 2015 in the town of Rasteau. Today, Maison LAVAU sells some of its wines in bulk to French and European wholesalers and another in bottle under the LAVAU brand, especially for export.

* In a few figures, the UMVR is:

  • 70 Houses, almost all of which are also producers,
  • 90% of SMEs,
  • 1752 employees,
  • 48% of Rhône Valley PDOs are marketed,
  • 1 billion € turnover of which 33% from export,
  • 50% of the Houses generate 50% of their turnover from exports.

Its missions: It defends the interests of the merchants of the Rhône Valley; it is a source of information and privileged advice for its members. The UMVR also has a key role in the economy and regional governance of the sector. It is one of the constituent unions of the Interprofessions (Inter Rhône for AOCs and Inter Vins Sud Est for IGP). Without it these inter-professions could not exist.

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