Chateau Laulan Ducos has been purchased by TESiRO and is now the 5th chateau (as far as I know) to have been acquired by Chinese investors in the past 4 years. The others being Chateaux de Viaud, Latour Laguens, Laffitte Chenu and Richelieu.
If you know of any more please let me know. TESiRO is the Chinese joint venture of Eurostar Diamond Traders (based in Antwerp, Belgium) and Tongling Jade and Diamond Co Ltd (Nanjing, China). Eurostar Diamond Traders is the world’s largest diamond processing company and supplies luxury brands such as Tiffany and Cartier.
TESiRO has an annual turnover of around 15 million euros (20 million dollars) and employs 3,000 people at 400 jewellers in south east China.
Group managing director Richard Shen is keen to develop a market in his homeland for the chateau’s Cru Bourgeois 150,000 bottle annual output, which is sold under the Medoc appellation.
Chateau Laulan Ducos covers 22 hectares of vines and lies on a gravel outcrop in Sestigan in Jau Dignac Loirac – three villages now grouped together that in Roman times formed the Insula Jovis (Island of Jupiter).
In ancient times this part of the Gironde was a mass of swamps, rivulets and water channels (hence the Medoc once being known as the Isle Medoc) and it was not drained until the 17th century.
Laulan Ducos dates back to 1460 and has changed hands only once since the 15th century when it was purchased in 1983 by the Ducos family.
Originally the estate was part of the feudal seigneury of Loirac and in 1633 it passed down to the Duke d’Epernon, the Lord of Lesparre. Laulan Ducos has won many awards over the years and has frequent mentions in the wine press for the quality of its wines.
Richard Shen selected the chateau having looked at around 40 estates for over a month. now has a foothold in the Bordeaux vineyard. He said that:
“In China, where wine consumption is booming, many people are interested in the grand crus, but not so much in the rest. Entry-level and mid-range wines are overpriced relative to their quality.
With Laulan Duclos, I hope to give Chinese customers a guarantee of quality at a reasonable price . . . We will be reducing sales of Laulan Ducos in France to a minimum in order to supply China.”
One of Shen’s advisors added that:
“We plan to create boutiques named after the château, which will also be offering a range of bottles from other properties of course.”
TESiRO operates a successful franchise in China and they plan to offer the wine to their jewellery customers within the stores.
One of the problems with importing wine into China is that unlike Hong Kong which dropped its tax on wine a couple of years ago, China has an import duty of 14%, consumption tax of 10% and VAT of 17% that is levied on all imported wines and liquors.
I doubt that China will drop these high taxes as they have to protect their domestic wine industry. This means that if you want to sell wine in China at a reasonable price you either have to buy that wine very cheaply in the first place . . . or buy a chateau?