A First: Chinese Company To Buy Languedoc Winery


The south of France may soon be home to the region's first Chinese-run winery.
This week China-based BHC International Wine Assets Management, an avid importer of French wines, made an offer to purchase Anne-Marie and Guilhem Durand's Chateau La Bastide in the country's Languedoc region. 
The winery is situated in the north end of the Corbieres appellation just a short distance from Lezignan-Corbieres. The Durands bought the property in 1989, according to the website, and promptly uprooted parts of the vineyard and replacing the vines with prestigious varieties. 
“Nestled in a  green setting surrounded by maritime essences, this impressive chateau...offers unique characters,” the site says.
The vineyard's soil “is rich with limestone-slate terraces from the quaternary period with large gravel from alluvial origin.”
La Bastide's webiste says the Durands “favored dense, elevated plantations from 4500 to 5500 grapevines per hectare upright on stakes or 'trellis training' allowing an excellent sun exposure to foliage and grapes to attain ideal ripeness.”
The site goes on to say the vineyard features four varieties of grapes: Corbieres red (mainly Shiraz), Corbieres white (mainly Roussanne), vin de pays red, and vin de pays white.
The winery underwent a renovation in 2002, bringing its barrel count up to 600.
Ninety-six percent of the estate's production is exported to other countries, the site says.
In an interview with one wine news outlet, consultant Adam Dakin said Chinese wineries typically buy in Bordeaux because of the region's name-value.
The region has long been an area of interest to outside investors. John Goelet, a Bordeaux-bred American winemaker, owns Languedoc's Domaine de Nizas as well as Napa Valley's Clos du Val.
Two Russian consortia have recently bought Languedoc wineries as well, Dakin told the news outlet.
The real estate deal will be processed and finalized by Safer, an agricultural sales company based in Languedoc-Roussillon.
In an interview with French publication L'Independant, Safer's Roland Traver said he expects the sale to be finalized in the first quarter of 2015.
“So far, (the Chinese investors) were only interested in Bordeaux,” Traver said. “With this purchase, the Chinese are now showing interest in the wine region of Languedoc-Roussillon.”
According to the L'Independant article, La Bastide exported about 300,000 bottles last year. The region at-large exported 250 million hectoliters of wine worth about 56.1 million euros to China in 2013.

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