One of Burgundy’s most famous vineyards was returned to French hands last night as billionaire Bernard Arnault’s luxury goods giant LVMH bought the 14th century Clos des Lambrays from its German owners.
Some in the region have been dismayed to see its prestigious producers being sold to wealthy foreigners, most notably the takeover in 2012 of a famous chateau, Le Chateau de Gevrey-Chambertin by a Chinese casino magnate.
Local growers have even warned of a “foreign invasion” of mainly Asian investors into the region.In Bordeaux, at least 20 chateaux have been taken over by Chinese buyers in recent years.
LVMH, whose name stands for Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, owns some of the world’s most famous luxury brands. So analysts said Clos Des Lambrays’ fine wines like the Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru “Clos du Cailleret” make a good fit. While LVMH has been buying fine wines in recent years to add to its famous names like Chateau D’Yquem and Chateau Cheval Blanc, yesterday’s deal was its first in Burgundy.
Locals had not been overly concerned by Clos de Lambrays’ German ownership since 1996, as Gunter and Ruth Freund were knowledgable about Burgundies and invested in restoring the chateau and improving the vineyards, while retaining the services of Thierry Brouin, its chief winemaker for the last 35 years. He will remain in charge under LVMH. Ms Freund began looking for a buyer following Mr Freund’s death in 2010.