Another French connection? Re a Cheval Blanc vineyard in China

By Jim Boyce

A very famous Bordeaux Château is about to announce a major investment in China.’ This was Li De Mei’s tantalising sign-off at the end of perhaps the most relevant of many presentations given at a recent get-together of international wine luminaries in Hong Kong, WineFuture. Could this be connected to the rumour that Pierre Lurton, director of LVMH’s Châteaux Cheval Blanc and d’Yquem, has been overseeing vine plantings near the Tibetan border? I certainly spotted Cheval’s public relations person at the conference.

Jancis Robinson, “Wine Advances in China” (November 19)

Several people have asked me about the above post by wine writer Jancis Robinson (click on the link for more of her China notes from the recent WineFuture conference in Hong Kong). To be honest, I don’t have any contacts at Cheval Blanc, nor have I made any scouting trips to the Tibetan border, but I can share the scuttlebutt I have heard from local and foreign acquaintances in the wine business here.

Word is the Cheval Blanc operation will be in Yunnan Province, near the border with Tibet, and make it relative neighbors with the Shangri-La operation already producing better-than-average wine. The mix of soil, terrain and temperature make it promising for wine though the amount of land is quite limited compared to what is available in regions such as Ningxia and Xinjiang. One major benefit: unlike in those places, the vines need not be buried in the winter to protect them from the cold. I’m told the Cheval Blanc operation will be a blend of existing and new plantings.

First Lafite, then Moet-Chandon, now (I hear) Cheval Blanc? Who’s next? (Frankly, I

Finally, in re to Wine Future, here is my long-distance take:

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