A state-owned energy firm has become the first Chinese company to acquire control of an estate in Bordeaux's Margaux appellation, after Luc Thienpont sold his majority stake in Clos des Quatre Vents.
Alongside Thienpont’s seven hectares of vines in Margaux, Chinese energy firm Liaoning Energy Investment has also gained control of the Belgian’s 21ha Chateau Bonneau in AOC Haut-Médoc.
Thienpont will remain as co-director of Clos des Quatre Vents for at least two years, and is still a minority stakeholder in his former vineyards, as well as in the wine shop Clos des Quatre Vents in Margaux village.
The négociant company SARL Thienpont is not included in the sale.
‘I have six children,’ Thienpont told decanter.com. ‘Dividing up the estate between them all would have been too difficult with succession taxes.’
Thienpont said Liaoning plans to retain the current sales system of the estate, using Bordeaux négociants to distribute worldwide.
‘Maintaining the quality of the wine is the single most important thing to the new owner.’
A new Chinese director, Lina Fan, will run the Margaux property, initially working alongside Thienpont.
Fan has lived in France for 10 years, working in Champagne and the Loire before moving to the Chinese-owned Chateau de Pic in the Cotes de Bordeaux.
She is the wife of Peng Wang, a financial advisor who was killed in the helicopter crash at Chateau de La Riviere just before Christmas and who was to have run the Fronsac estate on behalf of China’s Brilliant Group.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux