. Energy News .

Chinese industrialist buys top wine estate in landmark deal
by Staff Writers
Bordeaux (AFP) Nov 29, 2012

A Chinese industrialist has completed the landmark purchase of Chateau Bellefont-Belcier, a leading estate in France's prestigious Saint Emilion wine-making area, sources involved in the sale said Thursday.

The property is the first of its rank -- Grand Cru Classe (classified growth) -- to be acquired in what has been a wave of Chinese investment in the Bordeaux region.

The new 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 chateau'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 Emilion) in the last two years and this year has seen China 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 Chateau Gevrey-Chambertin in Burgundy earlier this year triggered a major row, with local winemakers and far-right politicians claiming the country's heritage was being sold.

"This is a first (for Bordeaux), we'll see how people react," said Herve Olivier, regional director of SAFER, the government agency that oversees rural land development.

Georges Haushalter, the president of the Bordeax Wine Council, does not expect a backlash. "We have the Japanese at Chateau Beychevelle and Chateau Lagrange and no one reacts against them," he said. "They have done a very good job."

Bellefont-Belcier, which had been on the market for a number of years, has 13 hectares of vines and total land of 20 hectares. A source close to the transaction said the final price was between 1.5 and two million euros per hectare of vines.

The sale had been in negotiation for a number of months, but the price was not finalised until after the announcement in September of a once-in-a-decade re-classification of Saint Emilion wines, which confirmed the estate's Grand Cru status.

"The classification played an enormous role," said a spokesman from Franck Lagorce Conseil, the agency which negotiated the deal. Without the classification, "the price would not have been the same."

Olivier said another 10 chateaux could be sold to Chinese buyers by the end of the year if bureaucratic obstacles can be overcome.

"These are dossiers that are lagging. Since this past summer, there is manifestly a difficulty for the Chinese... to get their money out of China. So there are plenty of dossiers that are pushed back."

Chinese investors in Bordeaux are primarily industrialists with diverse business interests including real estate and tourism, according to Olivier.

"They do business in everything," said Olivier. "Some are already in the wine business, some are in the restaurant business. Sometimes they are just wine lovers who do it for their own pleasure and they buy a chateau in Bordeaux."

Until now, Chinese investors have focused on relatively obscure chateaux in modest appellations, the properties frequently having languished on the market for some time with little chance of a bidding war.

For this reason, according to Olivier, Chinese investors have not put pressure on vineyard land prices.

"They don't make the prices shoot up like in Gevrey Chambertin," he said. "Prices have remained stable."

The controversy in Burgundy was fuelled by the fact that Macau gambling executive Louis Ng outbid a group of local investors. Inflation in land prices is a sensitive issue because of the impact it has on inheritance tax and, as a consequence, the ability of families to pass vineyards down to the next generation.

"Bordeaux vineyards have always been open to foreign investors," Olivier underlined. "There have been trends - the English, Belgians, Americans, Japanese, insurance companies, banks, which have purchased chateaux. Today, it's the Chinese.

"What is different is that it's in such short period. They've purchased 30 estates in two years. That's something."


Related Links
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Sequencing the Wheat Genome in a Breakthrough for Global Food Security
Albany, CA (SPX) Nov 29, 2012
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists working as part of an international team have completed a "shotgun sequencing" of the wheat genome, a paper published in the journal Nature reported Wednesday. The achievement is expected to increase wheat yields, help feed the world and speed up development of wheat varieties with enhanced nutritional value. "By unlocking the genetic secret ... read more

TerraSAR-X image of the month - the Santorini volcano expands

Satellites used to track global smog level

Apple sacks exec in maps fiasco: report

China successfully launches remote sensing satellite

East Riding Of Yorkshire Council Selects Ctrack For Specialist Vehicle Tracking Solution

Researchers Use GPS Tracking to Monitor Crab Behavior

US Navy, Raytheon receive Pentagon engineering award for GPS-guided precision landing program

Lockheed Martin Completes Critical Environmental Test on GPS III Pathfinder

China demand fuels illegal logging: report

Ash dieback poses threat

New study shows how climate change could affect entire forest ecosystems

Brazil says Amazon deforestation at record low

Tiny algae shed light on photosynthesis as a dynamic property

Algae held captive and genes stolen in crime of evolution

Marine algae seen as biofuel resource

Engineering plants for biofuels

The Installed Price of PV Systems in the U.S. Continues to Decline at a Rapid Pace

Upsolar Modules Earn High Marks for Long-Term Performance

Aerospace Museum of California solar installation

Emerging Markets Predicted to Bring Stability to Solar Industry

US Navy, DoD, Developer Announce Wind Farm Agreement

Britain: Higher energy bills 'reasonable'

Areva commits to Scotland turbine plant

AREVA deploys its industrial plan to produce a 100 percent French wind power technology

China mine blast toll rises to 23

China mine blast kills 18: state media

US shale gas drives up coal exports

Coal investment in Queensland unlikely

Liao slams Chinese politicians' 'dirty wealth'

Blind Chinese lawyer's nephew jailed for 3 years

S.Africa acted 'unlawfully' in failed Dalai Lama visa

China jails local government 'interceptors': report

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement