French term for merchant, dealer or trading house. Although it applies to products of all kinds, it is mainly used for wine merchants who buy grapes, must or wine, process them and then market them themselves. Especially in Bordeaux, the négociants have a very long history that goes back to the 12th century (see in detail under Bordeaux wine trade). Today there are about 400 négociants in the Bordeaux region, who market 70% of Bordeaux wines either directly to the end consumer or to resellers. Many of these companies have been family owned for many generations or are subsidiaries of large international wine multinationals or beverage companies.
Through the intermediary of the courtiers (brokers), the wines are taken over by the négociants in the year following the harvest and sold by a special subscription (pre-order) called "en primeur" here. Many of them are also château owners and also act as producers. The "pure" Négociant is limited to trading in original Château bottlings, whereas the Négociant éleveur purchases grapes, musts or wines in barrels and creates its own private labels from them. In Champagne, there are the protected and only here used names Négociant distributeur and Négociant manipulant. Outside Bordeaux, too, many large trading houses cultivate their own vineyards. These include the companies Boisset, Drouhin, Jadot and Latour (Burgundy), Duboeuf (Beaujolais), as well as Guigal and Jaboulet-Aîné (Rhône).