The Moueix family has bought a 31% stake in the company behind top St-Emilion chateau Belair.
Etablissements J P Moueix, whose properties include the stellar Château Petrus in Pomerol, bought the shares with the agreement of Belair owner Pascal Delbeck.
Delbeck, who inherited the estate and its land from Madame Dubois-Challon in 2003, said he was under pressure to ensure his properties were not lost for tax reasons.
‘The bulimia of the French tax system forced me to think of all the ways I could avoid putting the future of my properties in danger,’ Delbeck told decanter.com. ‘I found a solution in the association with the Moueix’s.’
Edouard Moueix, who runs Château Magdelaine, said his family had always been close to previous Belair owner, Mme Dubois-Challon, and that they had known Delbeck for 25 years.
‘We wanted to avoid the château being sold to a large corporation,’ said Moueix.
The Moueix family bought the minority stake in the Dubois-Challon company, formed by Delbeck and the previous owner before her death.
Moueix underlined the fact that his family’s company, other than securing existing exclusive distribution rights for Belair, was only providing technical assistance.
‘We are coming in as a reinforcement,’ said Moueix. ‘Our team will help them to take better care of the harvest – the [Belair] land is hard to work on.’
Delbeck insists he retains full control of the château.
‘I remain owner of all the domains I inherited and I hope to perpetuate the work of Mme Dubois-Challon,’ he said.
Written by Oliver Styles