As reported on Decanter.com in September 2012, Saint Emilion's Chateau Bellefont-Belcier has now confirmed its sale to a Chinese company, bringing the total of Bordeaux vineland sold to Chinese investors to 440 hectares this year alone.
The purchaser is Juxin Wines & Spirits, a subsidiary of Xinda Group and based in the Hebei province of China, and the France-based managing director of the Chateau is Wang Songwei*.
An insider on the deal, who did not wish to be named, told Decanter.com ministers from the new Chinese government have already been invited to Saint Emilion to celebrate the confirmation of the purchase.
Decanter.com understands the wine will still be sold through the negociant system.
Juxin Wines & Spirits is an importer and distributor of bottled wines that has also recently opened Juxin Cellar Clubs in Beijing and other cities, offering cellar services, tasting classes and tours.
The price of the sale is thought to be EUR30m, including all stock, 13.5ha of vines, a further 6.5ha of land, and the chateau, with its 12 bedrooms, tennis courts and swimming pool. The sale was arranged by Frank Lagorce Conseil, a land management consultancy based in Bordeaux.
A symbolic ceremony was held at the estate last week, when the keys were handed over, although it is not confirmed if former owners Dominique Hébrard, Alain Laguillaumie and Jacques Berrebi were present.
There had been several offers on Bellefont-Belcier from French companies over the past few years but they were unwilling to pay the price asked for the estate. ‘They missed their opportunity, and can not now be upset that such a jewel has gone to Chinese owners,’ the insider commented.
Although the most prestigious sale so far, the Bellefont-Belcier purchase merely confirms that the Chinese interest in Bordeaux vines is not yet slowing down.
SAFER, the French land agency, confirmed that, since 1 January this year, 440ha of Bordeaux vineyard land has been sold to Chinese groups or families.
*This article was updated on 24 September 2013 after Decanter.com was able to confirm more precise information about the Chinese buyer of the estate. Initially, the buyer was merely understood to be a Mr Wang.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux