Jean Leprince, owner of the well-known Fronsac estate Château de la Rivière, died yesterday in a plane crash near Libourne, Bordeaux.

Leprince (pictured) was travelling in a twin-engined Cessna which crashed in woods near Artigues-de-Lussac at around 6.15pm, shortly after take off from the Libourne aerodrome.

All three people on board, Leprince and the pilot and co-pilot, were killed in the crash and the subsequent fire.

The cause of the crash is not yet known. The French air accident investigation bureau (BEA) has opened an enquiry into the causes of the accident. The BEA has confirmed that the Cessna, which was bound for Toussus near Paris, was owned by SOGEPA, one of Leprince’s own companies.

After a successful career in industry, Jean Leprince – who was 67 – bought Château de la Rivière in Fronsac, in 1994. He subsequently bought Château Cantin in St Emilion and two Libourne négociants, Antoine Moueix and Lebegue. His other business interests included a wine-label printer in Bordeaux and a cooperage in Jarnac.

More recently, he invested €1.7m in the wine website rouge & blanc.

Written by David Rowe in Bordeaux20 February 2002