BIG COMPANIES AND BILLIONAIRES BUY UP THE BEST OF BURGUNDY

Comment: Burgundy enters era of billionaire wine owners - Andrew Jefford:

"It is, however, regarded in the region as a catastrophe, since it heralds the end of family ownership of any domaine with sizeable grand cru holdings.

If family holdings are dispersed, the pressure to sell soon becomes irresistible; death duties, meanwhile, weigh heavily on concentrated holdings.

Local wine-growing families now find the purchase of grand cru land utterly beyond their means – because the true return on capital must lie many decades hence.

The era of corporate and billionaire ownership in Burgundy has begun.

Grand cru Burgundy is now a luxury item, like a liquid watch or very small bottled yacht.

What’s to be done? Nothing. Wealthy, middle-class wine lovers will lose the familiar use of these wines; they’ll have to settle for an occasional sniff and mouthful at a grand tasting, which is all that most of us have known anyway.

The quality of grand cru wines will improve; grateful critics will line up to bestow pointless scores and gushy notes on them (pointless because they’ll all be on allocation in any case). Domaine visits will become ever harder to get.

 There will, though, be trickle-down benefits for the quality of Burgundy as a whole, while local families won’t be eased out of the region altogether: billionaire owners are never going to bother with village wines, or with less prestigious premiers crus."



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