The Barclay brothers, owners of the Daily Telegraph newspapers and the Ritz hotel in London, have recruited Bordeaux winemaker Alain Raynaud to plant a vineyard on the island of Sark in the Channel Islands.
The famously reclusive identical twin brothers own the neighbouring island of Brecqhou and own land on Sark which has a population of around 600, has no cars, and offers its residents tax-free status.
They are planting a small vineyard of 5 hectares, comprised of Chardonnay, Chenin and Pinot Gris principally, with the intention of making a still white wine, and a sparkling wine that will be sold mainly to tourists visiting the island.
‘We have completed soil analysis and climate studies,’ Alain Raynaud, owner of Chateau La Croix de Gay in Pomerol and consultant for a number of estates including Colgin in Napa, told decanter.com.
‘The Sark vines stand at an elevation of about 100m above sea level, and on the same latitude as the Loire. There is great potential here for developing quality white wines.’
Recent months saw Sirs David and Frederick Barclay withdraw much of their funding from the island following disputes over the newly-formed government, but most of their businesses – which include hotels, restaurants and golf courses – are back open and running as normal.
The Sunday Times Rich List in 2007 estimated their wealth at £1.8 billion.
Raynaud was hired by Kevin Delaney, manager of Sark Estate Management.
‘The vines are located in several plots around the island and we are aiming to make a top quality wine that will show our commitment to improving the services and offerings of Sark,’ said Delaney.
Planting is due to begin in April 2010, with the first vintage in 2013.
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Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux