Esme Johnstone is shortly to give up his role as managing director of Chateau de Sours but will retain strong links with the Bordeaux property and its owner.
Johnstone – a well-known character who until May last year was the largest shareholder of the Entre-deux-Mers estate – now lives in Bordeaux.
From 1 October this year he will become a consultant, retaining responsibility for the sales and marketing and the brands.
Johnstone was one the founders of Majestic Wine, and acquired de Sours in 1990, with a number of shareholders. Martin Krajewski invested in 1997 and since then has acquired 75% of the shares.
‘I took over the business and have instituted my own regime, and a substantial review. Esme will no longer be a director or an employee. He is a consultant for the time being,’ Krajewski told decanter.com.
Johnstone said his role at de Sours would be to ensure the wines ‘continue to retain their unique position and sales around the world.’
Krajewski stressed that contrary to Bordeaux rumours, relations with Johnstone were good, and that the two continue to work closely together on a number of new projects.
The most notable of these is Songlines Estates in South Australia, which produces high-end Syrah and Merlot with former Grange winemaker John Duval as consultant.
As for de Sours, Krajewski has already invested a ‘seven-figure’ sum in renovations, new winery equipment, replantings, research, plantings of new varietals such as 1.5ha of Cabernet Franc, and a new winemaker, Sebastien Lamothe.
Chateau de Sours makes a handful of wines from its 50ha of vines: the £25 La Source, Domaine de Sours, Chateau Richemont, and Chateau de Sours which includes the popular Chateau de Sours Rosé, the property’s signature brand.
Written by Adam Lechmere, and Antony le Ray-Cook in Bordeaux