Chinese investors pursue more chateau deals across France

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Chinese investors have acquired Chateau La Bastide in France's Languedoc-Roussillon with more deals close to being completed, according to estate agents.

Image © Chateau La Bastide

Beijing-based wine investment group BHC International Wine Assets Management has acquired Chateau La Bastide in the Corbieres appellation of Languedoc-Roussillon.

DecanterChina.com understands from a trade source that BHC International paid €6m for the estate, which includes around 60 hectares of vines. It did the deal directly through the French agricultural land agency, SAFER.

Its acquisition comes as DecanterChina.com is aware of another Chinese investor who is close to agreeing a chateau purchase in Bordeaux.

The news suggests Chinese investors' thirst for French vineyards has not diminished, despite a challenging period for imported wine in China, as well as Chinese government austerity measures.

Noel Castinel, of real estate agency Vinea Transaction, said a further deal with a Chinese purchaser in Languedoc-Roussillon was at an advanced stage.

He added that the agency was also in the process of negotiating a Chinese investor's purchase of a 20-hectare Cotes du Rhone wine estate for almost €3m. He said he couldn't name the estates or the prospective buyers at this point in the process.

Castinel said Chinese buyers were increasingly looking for 'affordable' chateaux and domaines, rather than simply those with grand cru status.

He said Languedoc-Roussillon specifically is 'becoming more and more attractive, because the prices are quite low and the quality is good'.

Adam Dakin, who has spent more than a decade in the French vineyard real estate business, said, 'The average vineyard price per hectare in Languedoc-Roussilon is €15,000, which compares to around €450,000 in Chateauneuf-de-Pape, for example.'

'Some of the land in Roussillon is almost being given away,' said Dakin, who now runs his own real estate consultancy, Wine Objectives, based between Montpellier and Nimes in Languedoc.

Rather than focusing on solely Chinese buyers, Dakin said that he sees growing numbers of French and non-French investors in general looking at the region.

Within the industry, local wine companies have also been expanding. 'Producers such as Gerard Bertrand, Jeanjean and Paul Mas have all been buying land to guarantee supply, with a view to the developing markets in Asia,' Dakin said.

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