Bordeaux Vineyards forever international
Last Saturday we hosted the two most senior leaders of New Century Group, the Chinese conglomerate that we advised last year during their purchase of Chateau Birot. Following a formal lunch at our offices with an entourage of their key directors we drove them to the St Emilion church where the ancient ceremony was conducted – welcoming them into the Jurade as “Prud ‘homme de la Jurade”
Using our reputation and influence in the St Emilion vineyard community we had them inducted into the famous St Emilion Jurade which now numbers a small group of the most influential Chinese vineyard investors and wine distributors, including Vicki Zhao (or Zhao Wei) the famous Chinese actress and singer – owner of Chateau Monlot St Emilion Grand Cru.
New Century have over 140 hotels, both in China and internationally, so their appetite for Bordeaux and St Emilion wines has been consistent for some time now. Their induction as ambassadors of St Emilion wines was a natural evolution of their relationship with the region and we were delighted to play a part in inviting them into the Jurade. With Chateau Birot owned directly they have already shipped 30,000 bottles this year with another 25,000 bottles expected to ship this summer. Theirs is the perfect Bordeaux wine distribution model since their hotels provide the end destination for their own wine products.
There was a terrific turn out and as a rugby fan I was thrilled to see Toby Flood – the England fly half being inducted to the Jurade even if there was some shuffling in the pews as his Twitter bio was read out stating that he is a “ladies swimwear model” followed by some reference to British humour. But it was Julie Gayet that stole the show and caused the biggest stir amongst the press gathered there as they swarmed around her. I am not sure if it was her boyfriend – Francois Holland that drew the throngs or just her own magnetism but in any event it added some glamour to the proceedings.
After the formal ceremony Karin Maxwell and Michael Baynes presented our guests with a Christies’ engraved wine decanter to mark the occasion and hopefully to be put to good use with their Bordeaux wines.
The Jurade today counts about 3000 amongst its members with a wide range of countries represented making up this who’s-who of the Bordeaux wine world. Following the ceremony the new and old Jurade members gathered with their guests in Chateau Fortet opposite the church for a stunning banquet and fitting ending to a special day.