Today’s edition of the Sud-Ouest newspaper reports that the 100th Bordeaux château has been purchased by a Chinese (that includes Hong Kong and Chinese living outside their country of origin). As we all know, the Chinese market has receded, but the country still imports one out of every ten liters produced in Bordeaux, which is to say one hell of a lot of wine…
The Chinese strategy has been to target estates in less showy appellations, particularly the Entre-Deux-Mers region. Furthermore, the attractiveness of the château building and grounds is a major factor in purchases. Only one classified growth is Chinese-owned: Bellefont-Belcier in Saint-Emilion.
Curiously, the Chinese now own a huge chunk of the Fronsac appellation, with châteaux Richelieu, La Rivière, and Plain-Point. In the Médoc, the Chinese flag waves over Loudenne, Barateau, Bernadotte, Preuillac, Andron, and Les Tourelles.
Mr. Naijie Qu from Dalian (northeast China) alone has 23 châteaux, totalling 500 hectares.
That having been said, all Chinese holdings amount to just 1.5% of the total surface area under vine.
There have been a few management problems and other difficulties due to the Chinese ignorance of French labor laws, but the trend continues unabated.
Money talks in Bordeaux, and is worth noting the openness to foreigners as compared to the ruckus caused by the Chinese purchase of the Château de Gevrey-Chambertin in Burgundy, where they own next to no vineyards.