Castel, France’s largest wine family, has sold one of its 22 Bordeaux wine châteaux to Chinese wine giant Changyu. In a second, unrelated deal, Château de La Dauphine in Fronsac has been bought by the Labrune family.
Castel sells Bordeaux château
Changyu Group has bought 90% of Château Mirefleurs, a Bordeaux Supérieur estate that also has the rights to the name Château Techeney, in a deal worth €3.33m.
It is Changyu’s first wine estate acquisition in France, althought the Chinese company has owned Roullet-Fransac in Cognac since 2013. The deal is also more evidence of Chinese investors buying middle-tier wine estates in France.
Château de La Dauphine in Fronsac sold
Separately, it was also announced this week that highly rated Fronsac estate Château de La Dauphine has been acquired by the Labrune family for an undisclosed fee.
The family said it wanted to continue the legacy of previous owners, the Halley family, at the 40 hectare estate, which produces 200,000 bottles per year. Both made a point of stating the deal meant La Dauphine would remain in French family ownership.
More on Castel Changyu deal
The Castel family had owned the 40 hectare Château Mirefleurs since 1970 and retains a minority stake. It will initially continue to distribute the wine to existing clients in Europe.
‘Changyu will put its own team in place in Bordeaux, and has exclusive distribution of the two names in China,’ Franck Crouzet, communications director of Castel, told Decanter.com.
‘This is both a strengthening of our partnership, and proof that our strategy in China – that has always been about quality but accessible wines – is continuing to work’.
Changyu is China’s largest wine producer and has a distribution network covering 312 cities, said the company.
‘It is an inevitable trend for Chinese people to consume more and more imported wines in the future,’ Changyu’s chief winemaker, Dr Li Jiming, told DecanterChina.com during Vinexpo 2015.
‘It’s Changyu’s time to expand overseas and become more international,’ said Zhang Jian, president of Yantai Changyu Pioneer International Co.
Together Changyu and Castel own the Changyu-Castel wine estate in China’s eastern Shandong province, where Changyu is the 70% partner.
Changyu is also one of Castel’s 10 distributors across China, a country where it sends 30m bottles of French wine each year.
Castel says it is the biggest foreign importer of wines into China, both directly and indirectly, bringing in 3,000 different brands.
Additional reporting by Sylvia Wu. Editing by Chris Mercer.