A cosmopolitan family with branches all over Europe, the Sichels of Bordeaux were of British origin. Looking back across the generations, we can see that the family’s involvement in the world of wine began in 1856 when Hermann Sichel, then aged 65, set up a wine merchant business in Germany.
In 1883, Sichel moved to Bordeaux and set up an office at 19 Quai de Bacalan – the group’s registered headquarters today – right at the heart of the legendary Chartrons district, the historic centre of activity of the Bordeaux wine merchants. At that time, the company was an acquisitions bureau which procured wines for the Sichel companies in Mainz, London and New York.
In 1938, Allan Sichel, a member of the British branch of the family, joined forces with three other families to buy the legendary – but at that time extremely dilapidated – Château Palmer. For more than 65 years, continuous, sustained investment has been made in the estate in the quest for greater quality, and it is this which has helped to build its reputation. Today, it is viewed as one of the flagship estates of the Médoc.
Acquisition of Château Angludet
In 1961, Diana and Peter A. Sichel bought Château Angludet, AOC Margaux, where they went on to raise their six children. The major renovation work they carried out on the estate took more than 40 years to complete. Today, wine critics are unanimous in placing Château Angludet among the best estates in the Médoc.
Construction of Cave Bel-Air
Maison Sichel became the first Bordeaux wine merchant to build its own winemaking facility. For more than forty years, Maison Sichel has cultivated close ties with its partner winegrowers who are stringently selected according to quality criteria. Each year, Maison Sichel buys in the grapes to supply to its winery; this means that it is able to control every stage of the winemaking process and produce its own brand wines.
Sicsoe and the first Sirius vintage
SICSOE: Maison Sichel created its bottling subsidiary.
SICSOE (“Sichel Sud-Ouest Embouteillage”) in 1985. This specialised plant has allowed it to improve bottling conditions and the quality of its processing and packaging operations. SICSOE also offers its services to other Bordeaux wine merchants. Creation of the Maison Sichel flagship brand: Sirius (AOC Bordeaux).
Acquisition of Domaine du Révérend
Convinced of the potential of the high-lying terroirs in the South of France, the Sichel family took over Domaine du Révérend in Cucugnan, in the Corbières. This is a very modern winemaking facility which buys grapes from local growers. Today, the winery is used exclusively to produce Château Trillol.
Acquisition of Domaine du Trillol (Château Trillol)
In 1990, the Sichel family expanded its interests in the Corbières by buying Domaine du Trillol. The estate lies in a majestic setting at an altitude of 400m (1,312ft), surrounded by fragrant Mediterranean scrubland and overlooked by the castles of the Cathars. The property originally consisted of just six hectares of vines. After sustained investment for more than fifteen years, the vineyard has now grown to 40 hectares. With the 2007 (red) and 2009 (white) vintages, Domaine du Trillol became Château Trillol.
Partnership with Maison Coste
Its partnership with renowned Bordeaux winemakers Edmond Coste & Fils gave the Sichel Group access to a sound distribution network on the traditional French market. Since then, its sales to the strategically important sector of French restaurants and wine shops have steadily grown.
In 2001, Maison Sichel began construction work on a new building for SICSOE specially designed for bottling and storage. With a programme of investment worth four million euros, this has provided SICSOE with state-of-the-art bottling and packaging equipment and sufficient space for future growth. SICSOE moved to the new site in Cénac (10 km south-east of Bordeaux) in March 2002.
Acquisition of Château Argadens
In 2002, Maison Sichel bought Château Salle d'Arche and renamed it Château d'Argadens in reference to the Saint Macaire family of nobles which owned it in the thirteenth century. It immediately began a major investment programme to restructure the vineyard, increase plantation density, modernise the winery and build an ageing cellar. Its ambition for the years ahead is to go on improving the quality of Château Argadens to get its wines recognised as some of the best in the Bordeaux Supérieur category. Château d’Argadens became known as Château Argadens from the 2008 vintage of its reds and the 2009 vintage of its whites.
A sales office opens in China
Maison Sichel increased its sales force by recruiting staff specifically for the Chinese market. Based in Shanghai, the sales office brings us close to our customers and will enable us to develop a long-term relationship based on trust.
Modernisation of the winery and construction of a storage facility for Grands Crus
Maison Sichel expands and modernises its winery, Cave Bel-Air. The increased capacity gives us greater control over the finer points of the vinification process starting from the 2012 harvest. Following expansion of its Fine Wine Desk service which supplies its customers with Grands Crus Classés, Maison Sichel has begun work on the construction of a storage facility guaranteeing top security and excellent storage conditions for these highly valuable wines which may remain in our care for many years.