French wine group Castel is planning to build a bottling plant in Nantes, which, it says, could be the biggest facility of its kind in Europe.

The project follows two recent acquisitions made by Castel in the Val de Loire growing region - French Bag-in-Box market leader, Friedrich and local winemaker and trader, Sautejeau-eauquin.

The plant will be built on Sautejeau-Beauquin's site at La Chapelle-Heulin, near Nantes and will comprise 45,000 sq.m of facilities. Bottling capacity will be around 200m units annually.

"The project has been given the go-ahead by the local council and we expect the plant to enter service around the middle of next year," a Castel spokesman told just-drinks today (28 August). He added that the project is expected to attract investment of between EUR20m (US$27.3m) and EUR25m.

Castel's acquisition of Sautejeau-Beauquin includes two muscadet-growing estates covering 150 ha, a winemaking centre and a 5,000 sq.m automated and air-conditioned warehouse.