The sale of St Emilion premier grand cru classé Bellefont Belcier has been completed to a Chinese industrialist with his fortune made in iron. Prices per hectare are said to be between 1 and 1.5 million euro (13 out of 20 hectares in production). Bordeaux is used to foreign ownership with Japanese, Belgian, Americans and English owners (in addition to banks and insurance companies). Inflated land prices does cause problems with the locals as it raises inheritance tax which makes it increasingly difficult for them to ‘keep it in the family’. Up to now it has been rather smaller châteaux from more modest appellations that have interested the Chinese. China is now the number one country to import wines from Bordeaux.
Also news today of an 18th century chartreuse in Yvrac (between Bordeaux and Libourne) which was entirely destroyed in error. The absent owner who comes from Russia is said to be devastated and will rebuild the château as it was. For the full story in French. http://www.sudouest.fr/2012/11/30/belle-bevue-a-bellevue-894595-2780.php