Burgundy is a very fragmented wine region with a lot of small wine producers and a very unique wine trade. Vignerons or grape growers can own as little as 2 rows in a vineyard. In Burgundy most of the wine produced is sold to third parties better known as “negociants”, because bottling is not economically feasible for small domains. Negociants buy wine from wine producers and bottle it. Most of them are based in the city of Beaune in Cote de Beaune and in Nuit St. Georges. The Negociants buy the wine and do the blending themselves. They play a very important role in Burgundy’s wine trade. The most famous negociants are Bouchard also one of the oldest, Louis Jadot and Louis Latour.
In the past 30 years however a tendency of the wine to be bottled in the domains themselves is becoming more popular with Burgundy wine lovers creating a bigger demand for authentic wines “Mise en bouteille a la proprieté” or wine bottled in the state. Nowadays it is considered that the most authentic wines come directly from the domains. Through the years the negociants bought vineyards and hence most of them now also produce their own wine. Even though domains bottle their wine most of the time they do not have enough grapes, which forces them to buy grapes from other producers and converts them into small négociants. To differentiate a wine from Burgundy that has been bottled in the domain one can take a look at the cork, which will say “Mise en bouteille a la proprieté” or “Mis en Bouteille au Domaine”. The wines that have been bottled by a négociant will print “Mis en bouteille dans nos caves” or “Mis en bouteille par …”.
There is another form of wine trade in Burgundy, which was established in the 1930’s, called cooperative. Within this system the winegrowers that compose the cooperative make an association to produce their wine together. Joining forces and lowering the cost of investment in equipment, wine-making, bottling and marketing.