Last week shook Château Beychevelle, a famous second-growth in Saint Julien, renowned as one of the most beautiful properties in Bordeaux, writes Romain Bonnaud. The Japanese drinks company Suntory – a Beychevelle shareholder for 20 years – has increased its stake from 37% to 50%. (You may recall that Suntory also owns the distinguished Château Lagrange in Saint Julien since 1983!)
At the same time, Chinese conglomerate COFCO has concluded the purchase of Château Viaud in Lalande-de-Pomerol, at a price of €10 million. COFCO vice-chairman Chi Jingtao declared to journalists that the group is intent on expanding its vineyard ownership overseas. Thus the recent deal is the fourth Chinese acquisition in the Bordeaux region after those of Château Latour-Laguens in 2008, Château Richelieu in 2009 and then of Château Chenu Lafite in 2010.
While numerous Japanese and Chinese companies look now at buying properties in Bordeaux, what are the intentions of Indian investors? Will they come in to strengthen this “East wind” in Bordeaux? There are probably great opportunities as France delays in coming out of the economic crisis. And it would be a strong sign from India where the wine market has been rapidly expanding over the past few years.