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Chinese buyer of Burgundy wine chateau identified
by Staff Writers
Lyon, France (AFP) Aug 24, 2012

A Chinese businessman whose purchase of a top Burgundy estate has triggered an angry backlash in France moved Friday to calm the row by promising extensive investment in his new acquisition.

Louis Ng, a top executive for Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, pledged via a representative in France that he would be investing significant sums in restoring the 12th-century Chateau de Gevrey Chambertin and upgrading the estate's wine production.

Ng, 60, is the chief operating officer for Ho's gambling-based empire. He was born and lives in Hong Kong but also holds Portuguese citizenship.

He acquired the property and two hectares (five acres) of vineyards in one of Burgundy's top appellations, for 8.0 million euros ($10 million) earlier this year.

The sale has been attacked by a group of local winemakers who had failed in their own bid to buy the estate as well as by France's far-right Front National, who believe the state should have intervened to keep the historic building and its vineyards in French hands.

Ng's representative said in a statement that the new owners would be making use of local winemakers to tend the vines and local craftsmen to carry out substantial works on the 900-year-old building.

"The chateau will be renovated by a French architect who is known for his work on sites of national heritage across Burgundy," the statement said.

"The works themselves will be carried out by regional businesses specialised in working on historic buildings enabling the chateau to be re-established as one of the finest buildings in the Cote d'Or wine region."

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