French luxury goods mogul Bernard Arnault and Belgian businessman Albert Frère have bought Château Quinault, a well-known, 37-acre estate in the St.-Emilion appellation. The purchase price for the Bordeaux winery is reported to be between $10 million and $15 million, not including debts on the property that could equal the same amount.
Arnault and Frère bought the winery through their Paris-based investment company, Raspail Investissement. The two businessmen already own the famous St.-Emilion estate of Cheval-Blanc, but sources there said, "Quinault will be managed completely separate" from the first-growth Right Bank estate. Arnault, who owns and heads the luxury products group of LVMH Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton, also owns the legendary Sauternes estate of Château d'Yquem through LVMH.
Former Quinault owner Dr. Alain Raynaud, a former president of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux and founder of the Cercle du Rive Droite, a Right Bank promotional group, told the Bordeaux newspaper Sud Ouest that he had to pay off debts he had been accumulating since he first purchased the estate in 1997. The château currently produces around 6,500 cases of its first wine, Château Quinault-L'Enclos (referring to the walled vineyard of the estate).
Raynaud's family also owns the Pomerol wine estates of La Croix de Gay and La Fleur de Gay, as well as Lalande de Pomerol's Faizeau. Sources close to Raspail said that it wasn't clear whether Raynaud would be working at Quinault in the future. Regardless, Raynaud will continue his wine consultancy business both in Bordeaux and abroad.