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Robert of Luxembourg to take reins at Haut-Brion

Prince Robert of Luxembourg has taken over the running of Bordeaux first growth chateau Haut-Brion today, as his mother steps down from the role.

His mother, the Duchess de Mouchy, has been the director of Domaine Clarence Dillon, the business group that owns Chateau Haut-Brion, since 1975. Prince Robert was previously vice president of the group.

A cash-rich company, which also runs Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion and Laville Haut-Brion, Domaine Clarence Dillon has a turnover of €25m, and made a profit of €6.6m in 2006.

The chateau has also announced it will change the name of its second wine, Bahans Haut Brion to Clarence de Haut-Brion. According to the estate, the new name is in honour of the original family owner, Clarence Dillon, Prince Robert’s great grandfather. The name change will apply as of the 2007 vintage.

Haut Brion was originally bought by Dillon, an American banker, in 1935 for the sum of 2.3m old francs.

The previous owner, André Gibert, described as an old, childless, eccentric character partial to lawsuits, had already attempted to give the chateau to city of Bordeaux. The gift was refused and Dillon managed to buy it.

However, Gibert, who had hired Georges Delmas as estate manager from Château Cos d’Estournel, was producing good wine – Dillon himself called it his favourite.

George Delmas, who stayed on after the sale to Dillon, was succeeded as manager in 1961 by his son, Jean Bernard Delmas. A third generation Delmas manager, Jean-Philippe, took over in 2004.

Written by Sophie Kevany in Bordeaux

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