On a recent note, we’ve seen dozens of wealthy Chinese going into France, especially Bordeaux in search of a gem, the vineyards.
Within these 3-4 years, we’ve seen investors such as Zao Wei, Peter Kwok, Richard Shen and the more recent Andrew and Melody Kuk, buying over wineries and vineyards worth millions of dollars. Some say that it’s for investment and the latter, for their passion and the love of wines.
“Once the vineyard has been bought, the idea is for the production to target the Chinese market. The Chinese know that they will attract consumers more with the symbols of French luxury. ” – World Crunch
French wine history dated back all the way to the Romans, it has been years after years of marketing, branding, facilitating and growing the industry to what it is today. With them is a rich and diverse history and story to tell the next generation. But now, slowly, but surely, it’s proven that wines in France is getting more and more commercialised. For the sake of money? Perhaps…
In the recent En- Primeur, wines from top wineries are seeing a decline in sales and a fluctuation (visible) in prices – i’ve mentioned that in a few of my previous posts. Are the French wines going downhill? Or is it just that they’re getting too arrogant after the 09/10 vintage?
Now… The Chinese have one thing for sure that i’m confident of saying – at least most of the Chinese. More often then not, Chinese purchase luxurious items such as Diamonds, Gold, Luxurious yacht, and private jets for the sake of showing what they’re worth. In fact, i’ve seen many who mix wines with coke, pepsi or sprite.
“Having sunk their teeth into European cars, cables, biscuits and even the Greek port of Piraeus, the Chinese now have a growing thirst for wine. In the dining tables of Beijing, Shanghai and beyond, that means French wine, specifically Bordeaux wine. Such is the interest that the Chinese government has even invested in a French vineyard.
They do, however, want wine made to their tastes: smooth, fruity and deep coloured. Hence they are not just pouring money into French wine production but are buying up entire vineyards to ensure they get what they want. They are then sending the domain’s entire production to China.” – The Telegraph
I know after saying all these, you’ll probably be thinking what has all these got to do with the Chinese buying wineries or vineyards in France?
Well, yes, it definitely does! Now, looking back, i’ve mentioned a brief introduction about when did wines started in France and the rich culture and heritage they’ve accumulated over the years. So…
My question is: How sure are they (the sellers) that they’re selling it to a responsible buyer?
Some of the fundamental ways people like myself who is in the the restaurant business choose our wines is through:
- Tasting – quality
- Knowing the story behind it
- Cost vs Quality
Now, if… i repeat IF a buyer of a winery is not genuine to his craft of ensuring the quality of the wine, but focus on making money, the first part of a consumer’s way of choosing wines would be eliminated. Therefore, resulting in lesser sales and purchases, this would then in return create a negative reputation for France. Which on my humble thought, can be quite disappointing after all the years of effort they’ve placed into wine-making.
All in all, it’s not surprising at all that wineries are getting more commercialised. Over the years, we’ve seen wineries being bought over or managed by luxurious brands such as the LVMH Group of Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon, etc… (too much to name) and Chanel of Chateau Rauzan-Segla
Some mentioned above have contributed greatly to the wine-making scene, ensuring more is done to encourage proper and responsible wine-making in the vineyards, some are just purely for making money.
I just hope that what France has achieved is not tarnished by the exterior motive of making money, but for the good and well-being of its heritage and reputation that they built upon.
In conclusion, i have to say that i don’t mean that selling a vineyard or a winery is wrong, neither am i saying that making money is not doing any good to the wineries. All that i’m saying is there should be a guideline or check-list to approve a buyer’s option of purchasing a vineyard and ensuring that the quality is kept to its optimal, if not better.
Leaving you with a quote that i thought about.
“investing in a vineyard or business is not only about making money, it’s about ensuring and be responsible for the heritage, quality and consistency that it’s built upon” – Joel Low
To great wines and stories to share, Have a great week ahead!