The most significant thing to happen to Bordeaux and arguably to the world wine industry in the last few decades is the arrival of the Chinese as major consumers of wine. In Bordeaux their influence is present from Bordeaux Superieur up to the Grand Cru Classés and like many nations before them, they are bringing their skills and resources to maximize their investments. Undoubtedly change is underway in Bordeaux and we are excited to be so close to the action. The role of any serious professional is to listen to the needs of their clients, not easy when the language and culture as so very different. To bridge this gap Ernst & Young Bordeaux and Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes have employed two highly gifted professional experts in Lei Zhao and Li Lijuan (Lily) respectfully. Their enthusiasm to see the Chinese community prosper in Bordeaux led to the birth of the China Club.
The beautiful Bordeaux spring weather allowed for a wonderful evening launching our first annual China Club presentation. We held the event with our partners E&Y on the terrace of their offices in the Chartrons overlooking the Gironde in Bordeaux’s city centre. Li Lijuan Lei Zhao from organized the event to mark the expansion of Chinese winemaking in Bordeaux over the past 4 years and to encourage community amongst the 70 chateaux that are now owned by Chinese investors. The pace of Chinese investment in Bordeaux vineyards has been considerable over the past few years averaging about 2 vineyard purchases each 3 months many of which have been handled by the vineyard experts at Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes and E&Y. Bordeaux has been welcoming international investors to its wine country for centuries so to be consistent with this tradition we have formed the China Club, to formally welcome the Chinese community to Bordeaux and to encourage an exchange of ideas, presentation of wines and networking.
The event was well attended including special guest Mr Li Ping a senior diplomat responsible for Chinese investment in France from the Chinese ambassadorial office in Paris who gave the key note speech. The Chinese teams spoke of their wines and made presentations to the Ambassador and to each other including tastings. Some of the chateau that presented their wines were: Chateau Belfont Belcier, Chateau Loudenne, Chateau Milord, Chateau du Grand Moueys, Chateau Landon, Chateau de la Rivière, Chateau Puy Guilhem and Chateau de Cugat to name a few. With the newly finished Bordeaux bridge at Bacalan in the background it was a fitting backdrop to the new “bridge” that is being built between the Bordelais and their new Chinese friends through the China Club.
Plans are already underway for China Club 2 next year with some very exciting presentations from the Chinese in Bordeaux.