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Bordeaux vineyards have strong appeal for Chinese investors

Two significant vineyards have been bought by Chinese investors. Chateau Latour-Leguens, which produces 160,000 bottles and another vineyard in St Emilion, both in the Entre-Deux Mers area, are now in Chinese hands.

There is also interest from Chinese investors in a St Emilion Grand Cru estate which includes at 16th century Chateau and a Cotes de Castillon.

'There has been a lot of interest from the Chinese,' said Karin Maxwell, director of Maxwell Properties and the Knight Frank representative in the Gironde. 'Bordeaux vineyards represent good value for money at present,' she added.

Increased buying power in China and a growing consumer desire for wine is adding to the interest. There is a similar trend throughout Asia.

'Hong Kong has recently abolished the import duty on wine. So Chinese owners don't have to come to France to drink what they produce,' added Maxwell.

Wine producer Jean-Gauillaume Prats of Chateau Cos-d'Estournel confirmed that Chinese interest in wine is a growing trend. 'Chinese wine lovers are becoming more and more sophisticated. Asia is now a far more important market for French wine than the US,' he said.

The Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce has close links with Hong Kong. At a recent exhibition most of the visitors were from the mainland, showing that interest in the area comes from throughout the country.

This could also add to the appeal of the area from Chinese visitors. 'Bordeaux offers good growth in the value of properties and healthy rental yields,' said a spokesman for French specialists VEF.

Vineyards in the region that produce wine for exporting start at about €800,000 up to €68 million.