A year since the helicopter crash that killed James Gregoire of Chateau de La Riviere, his family have honoured one of his final wishes by agreeing to acquire Chateau Ripeau in St Emilion.

Harvest at Chateau Ripeau. Image credit: Chateau Ripeau

The Gregoires have provisionally agreed to buy the 37-hectare, classified estate for an undisclosed fee. They are expected to sign the final sale documents on 12 January.

Brothers Cyrille and Nicolas Gregoire have been working alongside current Ripeau owners Barbara Janoueix Coutel and Louis de Wilde since early December, helping with the blending of the 2014 vintage.

Nicolas Gregoire confirmed to Decanter.com that his father James had been interested in acquiring a classified St Emilion property in the months before his death.

In a tragedy that rocked the Bordeaux wine world less than a week before Christmas last year, James Gregoire died after the helicopter he was piloting plunged into the river near to the chateau.

Businessman Lam Kok, of China’s Brilliant Group and who had just agreed to purchase La Riviere, was also killed, as was Kok’s young son and his financial adviser, Peng Wang. It took rescuers several weeks to find the bodies.

The Gregoire family still owns Chateau Bois Noir in AOC Bordeaux Superieur and Chateau Puynard in the Cetes de Bordeaux appellations.

‘With all three of our family estates, my father bought properties that needed significant investment and set about doing what was needed,’ Nicolas Gregoire said.

‘He would have loved what we will be doing at Ripeau in terms of realising the potential of this magnificent estate, which is located next to Figeac and Cheval Blanc. We will begin with a replanting programme that should last between eight and 15 years, and will also be fully redoing the barrel cellar and winery.’

The Gregoire family also still owns 50% of the wine merchant company Vintex. It plans to continue to sell Ripeau wines through the Place de Bordeaux.

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Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux