here have been a rash of purchases in Bordeaux recently as the Chinese are buying up chateaux before France’s tax laws regarding property surplus-value will be changed in February 2012. For a detailed account of the situation check out Alexander Hall’s Vineyard Intelligence.
The list of chateaux now owned by Chinese investors is as follows:
Chinese billionaire Cheng Qu from Dalian is the largest buyer and has added 4 chateaux to his portfolio totalling 150 hectares. Qu Cheng purchased Chateau Chenu Lafitte (Cotes de Bourg) last year and is reported to want to open a theme park based on wine. The 4 chateaux Qu Cheng purchased are:
Chateau Branda (Saint Emilion/Fronsac)
Chateau de Grand Branet (Entre Deux Mers)
Chateau Laurette (Sainte Croix du Mont)
Chateau Thebot (AOC Bordeaux)
Pete Kwok, a Taiwanese businessman, is expanding his portfolio with the purchase of Chateau Tour Saint-Christophe (Lussac Saint Emilion) and according to the Sud Ouest newspaper he is also in the process of negotiating a purchase in Lalande de Pomerol.
Peter Kwok already owns Chateau Haut Brisson (Saint Emilion) which he purchased in 1997.
Chateau Latour Laguens (AOC Bordeaux) – Qingdao Hai Group (purchased 2008)
Chateau Richelieu (Fronsac) – Hong Kong A & A International Inc (purchased 2009)
Chateau Viaud (Lalande-de-Pomerol) – COFCO (purchased January 2011)
Chateau Laulan Ducos (Médoc) – Richard Shen (purchased March 2011)
Chateau Barateau (Haut Medoc) – Marvelke Wine Group
Chateau Bertranon (Sainte Croix du Mont) – Meng Gao
Chateau Monlot (Saint Emilion) – Zhao Wei
Chateau de Cugat (Entre Deux Mers) – a Chinese collective
Chateau Lezongars (Entre Deux Mers) – no details released yet
In addition the Dashong group has its eyes on a large estate in Moulis, a Cru Bourgeois in AOC Médoc (Valeyrac ) is finalizing its sale. In Massugas, (Entre deux Mers) negotiations are currently underway for purchase of Château Blanchet by Vast Fortune Limited and Château Grand Mouëys (Entre Deux Mers).
Back in March I asked “should we be concerned about the Chinese buying up chateaux?” By owning and controlling the production and distribution of the chateaux the Chinese are able to cut out the middlemen and reach their domestic market without jumping through hoops.
So why are these particular chateaux being snapped up? They are less well known after all. To answer the question I thought it would be interesting to review the chateaux that have been sold, where and why – starting with those in Saint Emilion in tomorrows blog.