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Newly rich Chinese investors buying French vineyards, gaining recognition

With the growing economy of China making many citizens into upperclass consumers, they are increasingly consuming fine wines and enjoying other pleasures of the “high life”.

Some have even bought up French vineyards. In fact, according to this article on BBC News, “Chinese investors have bought six estates over the last three years.” But their activity is not limited to France, as China has been developing its own wine industry that is gaining recognition. It’s also well known that Hong Kong is a developed wine hub.

Excerpts from the article are below. Click on link above for full article.

For those of my readers with personal experience in winemaking and/or China, and how do you see this development?

Chinese buy their favourite Bordeaux by the vineyard
By David Chazan
BBC News, Bordeaux, France
26 October 2011

With its fairytale turrets and a 15th-Century tower, Chateau Latour Laguens is surrounded by vineyards in a region steeped in European tradition.

But this chateau, south-east of Bordeaux, is also at the cutting edge of Asia’s growing economic might.

The staff who tend the vineyards and make the wine are still French, but this is now a Chinese-owned domain.

It has been taken over by the Longhai group based in eastern China, which has created a subsidiary to run it called Chateau Latour-Laguens (Qingdao).

The Chinese are developing a new taste for French wines these days.

And in addition to buying them by the bottle or the case, the Chinese have also started buying the vineyards where their favourite Bordeaux vintages are produced.

Chateau Latour-Laguens was the first estate in Bordeaux to be bought by Chinese investors three years ago, but at least five others are now also Chinese-owned.

“We’re looking for the know-how, French technology and culture,” said Yilain Xu of Chateau Latour-Laguens (Qingdao).

“Bordeaux is a famous place to make high-quality wine and in China we have more and more people who drink wine, as lifestyles are changing.”

The new owners of Chateau Latour-Laguens have invested in the latest wine-making technology, and are renovating the chateau itself, which was somewhat run down before they took over.

But they have been careful to keep the French workers, and have hired an experienced French oenologist, or expert in the science of winemaking, to manage the operation and improve the quality of the wine…

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