In a move that puts a full stop to over 200 years of history, Alexandre Lur Saluces has left Chateau d’Yquem, to be replaced by Pierre Lurton of Chateau Cheval-Blanc.
The Lur Saluces dynasty has been in charge at the illustrious Sauternes estate since the end of the 18th century. Since 1991 the family has been embroiled in an internecine feud which climaxed in 1996 when his brother and other relatives sold their 55% share in the company to LVMH.
Now the LVMH board has lowered the compulsory retirement age from 75 to 70. Comte Alexandre turns 70 today. Bernard Arnault and LVMH now have full control of Yquem.
According to the website of London wine merchants Berry Brothers, Lurton will take the title of CEO of Yquem but will continue as Cheval-Blanc’s managing director. ‘Lurton is known for his savvy reading of market trends, respect for terroir and experience with the New and Old Worlds,’ the website says.
Arnault, LVMH chairman, said Lurton would open Yquem to ‘modernity’ while also respecting its traditions. He was appointed after Cheval-Blanc co-owner Albert Frére agreed to share him with Yquem.
LVMH is one of the world’s biggest luxury goods companies, owning Christian Dior, TAG Heuer watches, Givenchy and dozens of other blue-chip fashion houses and perfume manufacturers.
As well as Yquem its drinks interests include Moet et Chandon, Krug, Cloudy Bay, Cape Mentelle, Ruinart and half a dozen other famous names.
Written by Adam Lechmere