Magrez looks to expand empire to Kent

Magrez looks to expand empire to Kent News Wine News
  • Wednesday 13 September 2006

Global wine mogul Bernard Magrez is interested in buying English vineland in order to produce a still wine.

Magrez – who owns more than 30 wine properties worldwide, and whose flagship estate is Graves aristocrat Chateau Pape Clement – told decanter.com he was interested in finding land in Kent.

He said he was ‘looking for a partner’ to share an investment in the southeastern English county with a view to producing not a sparkling wine - for which the region is best known - but a still wine, as 'that is what I know best'.

Vineland in the this part of the world has been getting increasing attention recently. Earlier this year England's leading sparkling wine producer, Nyetimber in the neighbouring county of Sussex, was sold for around £7.5m (€10.9m) – a record.

English sparkling wines have long been recognised as capable of holding their own against their peers. RidgeView, also in Sussex, took World Wide Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine at the 2005 International Wine and Spirit Competition.

Magrez would add the property to his portfolio of wines from Bordeaux, Languedoc, Toro and Priorat in Spain, California, Portugal, Argentina, Morocco and Uruguay.

He would be in good company. Major California winemaker Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon recently expressed an interest in English vineland. This summer he hired a helicopter to scout out possible terroirs in the county of Hampshire.

Magrez said he is no longer interested in buying a Bordeaux First Growth – as none of them are likely to be for sale – but is considering regions such as Puglia in southern Italy.

Asked whether he was considering any regions of Australia for investment he said he was more interested in finding 'a little-known region in which to make extraordinary wine’.

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