Chinese Industrialist Buys Top Saint-Emilion Estate (by wine-searcher.com)

Posted: November 30, 2012 by wynmaker in Cellars, Europe, France, Wine, Wineries, World wine news
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The Château Bellefont-Belcier estate.

The Château Bellefont-Belcier estate.

 

Grand cru classe vineyard fetches up to $2.6 million per hectare of vines.

 

A Chinese industrialist has completed the landmark purchase of Château Bellefont-Belcier, a leading estate in France’s prestigious Saint-Émilion wine-making area, sources involved in the sale say.

The property is the first of its rank – grand cru classé (classified great growth) – to be acquired in what has been a wave of Chinese investment in the Bordeaux region.

Bellefont-Belcier, which had been on the market for a number of years, has 13 hectares of vines on a total estate of 20 hectares. A source said the sale price was between 1.5 million and two million euros ($1.94–$2.59 million) per hectare of vines.

The new Chinese owner is a 45-year-old industrialist with assets in the iron sector who has already diversified into the wine-importing business. He met the château’s employees on Friday and has since returned to China.

Chinese investors have acquired around 30 lower-ranked properties in Bordeaux (the larger region that includes Saint-Émilion) in the past two years. During 2012 China has also become the region’s biggest export market in terms of volume.

So far, Chinese investment has not been controversial in a region with a long tradition of foreign ownership of wine estates.

In contrast, the acquisition by a Chinese buyer of Château de Gevrey-Chambertin in Burgundy this year triggered a major row, with local winemakers and far-right politicians claiming the country’s heritage was being sold.
Read on …

 

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