Corinne Mentzelopoulos has become the sole owner of Chateau Margaux after buying 75% of shares from the Agnelli family, decanter.com learned tonight.
Mentzelopoulos took over management of the chateau on the death of her millionaire father André Mentzelopoulos in 1980. The family had owned 25% of the property since 1977.
Wine writer and Decanter consultant editor Stephen Brook said he was very pleased that she now owns it outright.
‘Corinne Mentzelopoulos has been an impeccable custodian of Chateau Margaux for decades. She and (managing director) Paul Pontallier have created a golden age for this wonderful estate. I expect wine lovers the world over will be delighted that sole ownership is now in her hands. There couldn’t be a better outcome.’
Mentzelopoulos owned a quarter share in the chateau, but she has regarded its management as a major part of her work, spending three or four months of the year there. Many people assumed she had always been the sole proprietor.
Speculation as to who might take on the chateau has been rife since Giovanni Agnelli, patriarch of the Agnelli family which owns the troubled Fiat empire, died in January this year. It had been understood for some time that the family wished to sell its share of Margaux.
Mentzelopoulos made no secret of her desire to take over full ownership. An associate told decanter.com last week her company would ‘clearly be interested in acquiring a majority stake.’
This is the first time a Bordeaux first growth has changed ownership since Francois Pinault bought Chateau Latour in 1993 for US$126m.
With an alleged price tag of €300-400m, Margaux was to be the most expensive chateau ever sold, and billionaires from Bill Gates to the Duke of Westminster were rumoured to be interested. As recently as today in the UK, the Times newspaper said the Microsoft founder had been making enquiries.
It is highly unlikely Mentzelopoulos will make any changes. As Brook said, ‘She and Paul Pontallier haven’t put a foot wrong in 10 years.’
Written by Adam Lechmere