China entrepreneur buys Bordeaux's Chateau Renon


Chateau Renon has become the second Bordeaux wine property within two weeks to be sold to a Chinese investor, and its new owner plans to both produce wine and use it as an entertainment venue.

Image: Chateau Renon

James Zhou, 54, has bought the Chateau Renon building (pictured) and 5ha of grounds, as well as the 8ha Chateau Renon Ouest vineyard.

It is the second deal negotiated over the Christmas and New Year period by Christie's-affiliated estate agency Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes, after it sold Chateau Birotto China's New Century Tourism Group.

A fee for Renon, located in Tabanac in the Cadillac Cotes du Bordeaux area, was not disclosed. Local government data showed that average vineyard prices in the area were between 7,000 and 30,000 euros in 2013.

Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes (MSB) said that Zhou, who is based in Beijing and is chairman of a packaging company listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange, is already a member of the St Emilion Jurade; the invitation-only club for lovers and promoters of the right bank appellation's wines.

Alongside winemaking, Zhou plans to use Renon as a base for his family in the Bordeaux region and also as a 'venue for entertaining people from the Chinese wine industry, including Chinese media', according to MSB.

The property, built in 1802 and with 16th Century cellars, includes a stable and was renovated in 2002 by a Bordeaux architect and a specialist in Feng Shui.

Zhou said that he is 'committed to protecting the heritage and integrity of the estate'. Most of the wine produced is set to be exported back to China.

Both the Renot and Birot deals reinforce a trend for Chinese investors to target Bordeaux chateaux in cheaper areas and appellations.

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