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Chinese businessman makes Bordeaux acquisition

A Chinese businessman has bought cru bourgeois Chateau Laulan Ducos in the Medoc.

Photo: AFP

Richard Shen Dongjun, 42-year-old businessman with a chain of 400 jewellery shops, called Tesiro, around Shanghai and southeast China, has bought the a 22-hectare cru bourgeois estate in AOC Médoc for an undisclosed sum.

The former owner, Frederic Ducos, will continue to run the estate, with Shen visiting at least four times per year.

Shen’s intention is to stop selling the wine in France, and to concentrate on China, where he will create a chain of stores under the name of the chateau, in cities across the country with a rising wine-drinking culture.

‘We intend to open the first of these stores in the next few months, we are not planning to wait,’ Tesiro executive and advisor on the purchase Zhou Linjun told Decanter.com, adding that they will also import other wines from Bordeaux over time.

‘There is an obvious synergy with the Tesiro chain, as wine and jewellery are both part of the gift-giving culture in China. And if the production of Laulan Ducos proves insufficient, we may look to buy another chateau in AOC Médoc, or in other appellations.’

Frederique de Lamothe, director of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois, which is planning a series of tastings across China this year, said she was ‘thrilled’.

‘It is interesting that they are buying a Cru Bourgeois to diversify their luxury jewellery group. This purchase confirms the term Cru Bourgeois is seen as an indication of luxury and quality.’

A Saint Estephe producer who wished to remain anonymous said the purchase also showed that Chinese buyers were now targeting bigger acquisitions in Bordeaux.

‘With the money available in China, the question should be why have they bought in such small appellations until now? It is not a question of budget, but the strategy seems to have been to start small and learn the market. They are now moving upwards towards the most prestigious appellations.’

This now brings the total of Chinese purchases to date in Bordeaux to six: Chateau Latour-Laguens, Chateau Richelieu, Chateau Chenu Lafitte, Chateau de la Salle and Chateau de Viaud.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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