Chinese for Chinese in Bordeaux


Recent news stories have announced that Chinese entrepreneurs are making moves in Bordeaux, catering to the growing interest of fellow Chinese in the winegrowing region. To date,14 Bordeaux propertieshave been sold to Chinese buyers. Many of these acquisitions help feed feeding on demand for French wine back home in China. However, two of the new initiatives this month diverge from this model of chateaux acquisition; the Chinese entrepreneurs are looking to to attract Chinese visitors in Bordeaux as their main customer base.


This month, La Cave du Dynastie, a wine merchant aimed exclusively to serve Chinese tourists, opened their first store on Allées de Tourny, right in the heart of Bordeaux City Centre. Run by seven Mandarin-speaking Chinese staff, the shop sells wines from small- and medium-sized chateaux in the region. The director Yung Lee Lee adopted a B2B model when she founded her own negociant two years ago but decided this year to set up a storefront to receive large Chinese groups. Many come to buy Bordeaux wines but are unsure how to organize visits or make contact with winemakers, according to Yung.


Zhang Jin Shan, a wolfberry spirits tycoon from Ningxia, purchased Château du Grand Mouëys, a 170-hectare estate in Entre-deux-Mers. He announced plans to open a70-seat gourmet Chinese restaurantmanaged by Guangxi restaurateur Lei Wu An. With projected Chinese visitors at roughly 10,000 per year, the sprawling estate will be a place for“Sino-French cultural exchange,”as Zhang calls it, and will also feature a hotel, tennis courts and a 9-hole golf course.


Comments on Sina Weibo express skepticism on Zhang’s grand plans, arguing that as wealthy Chinese are purchasing their own Bordeaux chateaus, it would be more of a challenge to reach a goal of 10,000 visitors every year”. Other comments said the Chinese are starting to show signs of “consumer fatigue” while a few positive responses declared the winery tourism is a “dream come true” for those can afford a novelty holiday home.


One example of the more interesting ways that Chinese culture is incorporated into Bordeaux is ininclusion of a Buddhist altarat the back of La Cave du Dynastie’s shop. Also, Zhang’s team will not construct a swimming pool at the chateau’s hotel because, being situated between Dordogne and Garonne rivers, theaddition of more water would create badFeng Shui .