Community Advocacy on Environmental and Social Justice

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

CHINESE ARE COMING - BE VERY CAREFUL



*Chinese millionaires* are assuming control over French vineyards,
terrifying the winemakers of France who grieve over the national treasure
slipping through their fingers. Only in Burgundy, Chinese millionaires have
bought about twenty vineyards and are not going to stop there. *Now,*Chinese
businessmen turned their eyes to the Bordeaux region.

*The craze of the Chinese entrepreneurs* over the French wines is beyond
the consumer threshold. Millionaires from China are purchasing fertile
lands of France, where the best grapes grow. While the representatives of
the Union of Winemakers are sounding the alarm, the authorities under the
supervision of François Hollande are shrugging their shoulders, insisting
that the purchase of vineyards is legal.

*Chinese entrepreneurs* have been expressing interest in the French
national heritage, as the locals call the vineyards, for years. In the last
10-15 years, the Chinese have been watching the French property market and
purchasing fruitful vine plantations, often adjacent to old castles. In
August of this year, *another scandal broke* in France involving the
purchase of a castle and vineyard Gevrey-Chambertin in the department of
Côte d'Or in Burgundy by a millionaire from China.

The castle that became the property of the owner of 17 casinos in Macau, is
a former 11th century abbey. This is a monument to the history of France
included in the list of protected buildings. The site adjacent to the old
castles features vineyards. When the former owners of the land, seven
descendants of the Mitterrand family, announced their decision to sell
Gevrey-Chambertin, local vintners association commenced a fight for the
property. The French winemakers managed to collect five million euros for
the purchase of the old vineyard, but a native of China offered more.
Gevrey-Chambertin was sold for eight million to a Chinese who became the
full owner of two hectares of the 15 bearing the name of the famous
vineyard.

From the moment of the transaction the relationship between the residents
of Côte d'Or and the French authorities went south. According to the head
of the union of French winemakers Jean-Michel Guillon, the amount offered
by the Chinese businessman was too large, even considering all the splendor
of the vineyard Gevrey-Chambertin. According to the industry activists, if
the land is sold to any business bigwig, ready to easily part with millions
of euros, the national treasure of France will be sold out in the near
future.**

The French position can be explained not only by their fear of the
"occupation" of the French production, but also a forecasted deterioration
of the produce produced by the famous vineyards. After all, the quality of
wine depends not on the fertile soil alone, but following the production
process and monitoring the quality of the product. Who can guarantee that
the participation of the Chinese, notorious for producing low-quality
consumer goods, will not affect the quality of the famous French wines?

There is risk here, because the purchase of the French vineyards by the
Chinese businessmen is prompted by high demand for this product in the
Chinese market. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs tend to focus on profitable
customers with average incomes who can drink wine of medium quality as long
as it has a famous name.

The government believes that the Chinese investment is made legally, which
means that government intervention is not required. As noted by the
municipality of Côte d'Or, local winemakers are only capable of screaming
about historical heritage, but at the same time do not provide financial
assistance in the preservation of architectural treasures.

However, in addition to Chinese businessmen, representatives from other
countries, including affluent Russians who own vineyard Prieure
Saint-Jean-de- Bebian, are interested in French lands. In Burgundy,
vineyards are owned by entrepreneurs from the U.S. and Ireland, while the
Japanese own Chateau Lagrange in Bordeaux. The Chinese are actively buying
up plantations of grapes in the latter region. From this we can conclude
that the concerns of the local residents have to do with something else
rather than the emergence of the Chinese businessmen.

The root of the problem is much deeper. The French see how over time the
country has been losing its industrial strength, becoming the center of
tourism, attractive for its history and architecture. Even the French
vineyards - community pride and one of the main industry areas - threaten
to become the subject of "must have" for wealthy people from around the
world

*Maria Snytkova*

*Pravda.Ru*

*Read the original in
Russian<http://www.pravda. ru/economics/ agriculture/ farming/23- 09-2012/1128956- vinogradniki- 0/>

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Hi Eroo !! Whats your Views on this ?