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Tension mounts over Corton hill’s ‘mystery buyer’

Speculation has mounted in Burgundy that the Corton wood lying in the midst several famous wine appellations is to be sold to a mystery investor, prompting winemakers and politicians to hold a press conference to voice their concerns.

Winemakers and local politicians held a press conference this week to publicise their concerns about the future of the Corton wood, an oak forest topping the crown of Burgundy’s well-known Corton hill.

But, no concrete details of a deal were available and nobody was able to name the prospective buyer.

Tension and speculation over land sales have been rife in Burgundy since this month’s sale of Domaine Bonneau du Martray to American businessman Stan Kroenke, owner of Screaming Eagle in Napa Valley and Arsenal Football Club in London.

The 66-hectare Corton wood belongs to Vincent Sauvestre, the former CEO of Maison Béjot who resigned last year.

There is speculation that Corton wood is to be sold for up to one million euros.

‘We want to know the identity of the buyer,’ said François Arpaillanges, president of ODG Pernand-Vergelesses, this week. Arpaillanges said he was also worried about the high price of the alleged transaction.

However, no one was able to verify to Decanter.com whether the wood was on the market. Sauvestre could not be reached for comment.

This week’s events suggest heightened tension in Burgundy over outside investment.

Corton wood does not form part of the AOC Corton and Corton-Charlemagne vineyard areas.

Burgundy’s vineyards, or climats, are protected by UNESCO world heritage status.

Winemaker Boris Champy told France-Bleu radio this week that the wood was important to neighbouring vineyards, because it helped to regulate the climate.

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