After months of rumour and speculation, it was confirmed yesterday that wine and beer company Castel has bought a 50 per cent stake in Beychevelle, Beaumont and merchant house Barriere Freres. According to Decanter and French newspaper Sud Ouest, the deal sees Japanese wine and spirits corporation Suntory (which previously shared ownership of the triad with insurance firms GMF and Ethias) increase its stake from 37 per cent to 50 per cent to become an equal shareholder with Castel. (Read the full report here.) Though Castel already owns more than a dozen estates in Bordeaux, Beychevelle is the first Classed Growth to join its portfolio. And given the chateau’s strong following in Asia – and the wines’ impressive yearly returns – it will no doubt be amongst the company’s most prized investments.

News of the sale appears to have bolstered trade on the exchange, with the 2005 and the 2006 vintages of Beychevelle driving demand and reaching new price highs of £720 and £664 (12x75cl) respectively. As a result of the push, Beychevelle was the second-most traded brand by volume yesterday after Pavillon Rouge.