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Property developer takes majority stake in Château Climens

A family-owned French real estate business has taken a majority stake in Château Climens, following the decision by current sole owner Bérénice Lurton to “free” herself from “the functions of manager”.

In a statement sent to the drinks business this morning, Bérénice Lurton – whose has managed the Premier Cru Sauternes-Barsac for more than 30 years – said that she had “decided to hand over the role of protector” of Climens, but would “passionately accompany” her “new partners in this adventure”.

These “partners” are Jean-Hubert Moitry and his family, who are owners of French real estate business Patrimonia, a Paris-based company that invests in retail and office property, with 50 sites in France.

Château Climens represents Patrimonia’s first investment in the wine business, although Moitry said that acquiring a property in Bordeaux was a “long-standing family dream”.

While he commented that he and his brother Jérôme would manage the château – with its 31 hectares of vineyards – he said that they would be working “in partnership with Bérénice Lurton”, counting on “her exceptional experience and know-how” and would “uphold the excellence of Climens”

According to Lurton, the estate’s longstanding technical director Frédéric Nivelle and his winemaking team will continue to work at the property.

Lurton said, “I am particularly glad that Jean-Hubert Moitry and his family have chosen Climens, and infinitely relieved knowing we share the same human values, the same enthusiasm and the same vision.”

When asked by db for her reasons for selling her controlling share of the property, Lurton said that her primary motivation related to the challenges of making great sweet wine in a changing climate.

Recording that Climens has, in the past few vintages, suffered from two devastating bouts of springtime frost and one destructive hailstorm, among other damaging weather events, she said that conditions had “deprived” the property of “most of the last five crops.”

However, she assured db that she would “stay on as a consultant for several years, and be particularly present during the first year.”

Commenting further on his reasons for acquiring a majority stake in a Bordeaux estate, Moitry said that his wife, Catherine, comes from a family of wine merchants, while he added that he was attracted to Climens in particular because of “the excellence of its management”, its “implementation of biodynamic farming,” and “the recent creation of Asphodèle, a dry white wine of exceptional quality”.

Château Climens is unusual both because its 31ha vineyard is laid out as a single block and because it is planted with a single grape variety: Sémillon.

No information on the amount paid for this shareholding has yet been divulged.

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