On March 8th Karin and Michael gave an interview to a crew for France 3 – the French television network who were doing a documentary on the French vineyard market. This is the second TV interview we have given in recent weeks but the focus of this interview was the current interest that Bordeaux is receiving from the international market and in particular the Chinese. The crew wanted to see a “typical” product that attracts the international investors. We took them to Chateau Quercy, St Emilion Grand Cru for which Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes had the exclusive mandate for sale. The property sold this year to a Chinese buyer.
Bordeaux has welcomed international buyers for centuries – the English famously through Eleanor of Aquitaine’s marriage to Henry II of England may have been purely political, but in recent centuries the English have been accompanied by Scots, Irish, Belgians, Germans, Danish, Swiss, Americans, Japanese and middle eastern buyers of Bordeaux vineyards. The vineyard/wine community is small both globally as well as here in Bordeaux – connected across cultures by a common love of wine and the lifestyle that tends to follow it. One St Emilion Grand Cru owner recently said to me that what he loves the most about wine is that it brings people together. Bordeaux has therefore become the most cosmopolitan wine centre in the world bringing more nations together with in its AOC limit than any other wine region.
The team from France 3 television asked about the experiences that Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes have had with international buyers of Bordeaux vineyards and more recently with the Chinese who have dominated the market for vineyards over the past two years in particular, purchasing on average more than one vineyard per month.
The Chinese have predominantly focused on vineyards under €5 million. Their preferences during the last two years have been for vineyards with typical French architecture, towers and history. This has meant that they have favoured the Entre-deux-Mers region to the east of Bordeaux where there are a wonderful selection of classic French chateaux that fit their budgets. We are now seeing this trend changing as Chinese vineyard buyers are choosing higher value vineyards and moving into the prestigious appellations like St Emilion for example.
Why Bordeaux? – Why are the Chinese so interested in Bordeaux? Our information is of course anecdotal based on the considerable number of conversations we have now had with various Chinese clients over the recent years.
These are some of the common themes:
- Bordeaux is associated with the finest names in wine and is known to be consumed by Chinese leaders.
- Bordeaux is seen to be an original brand and is deemed genuine.
- The Bordeaux AOC system underwrites authenticity and quality
- The Bordeaux vineyard market is at or near its lowest point for many years
- Bordeaux vineyards have history and are architecturally interesting to them
- Chinese families often seek to educate their children in Europe
- The Chinese middle class is growing rapidly and is estimated to be 300 million strong within 10 years.
- Diversification of assets.
- France is the number one travel destination for Chinese tourists.