France’s top 10 richest drinks barons

Challenges magazine recently unveiled its annual ‘Fortune 500’ list, ranking the wealthiest people and families in France.

Scanning the list, among the various financial tycoons, captains of industry, petrochemical barons and construction tsars are those who have made their – rather considerable – fortunes in reassuringly French industries such as luxury fashion and cosmetics, cheese (seriously, the Flévet family behind ‘Fromageries Bel’ is worth over €2 billion) and of course, wines and spirits.

On a quick scan, well over 60 of the 500 names on the list are either directly or at least very closely involved in France’s wine and spirits industry; running its drinks giants such as Castel Frères and Pernod Ricard or owning its most lauded estates and brands – Lafite, Mouton Rothschild, Dom Pérignon and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

Many of them also own estates overseas as well in the US, South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Those more directly involved in the wine and spirit industry tend to labour a little further down the list than some of these high flyers but it’s easy to see why some of France’s most iconic brands have the international recognition they do and why some of the latest chais in Bordeaux are quite so shiny when you consider the wealth and financial power behind them.

Click through to see who are France’s most powerful people in drinks.

A full ‘power list’ of France’s richest wine and spirits families will appear in a future edition of the drinks business.

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