Chanel Owners Expand Bordeaux Holdings

The Wertheimers, who own Rauzan-Ségla, buy a St.-Emilion property to complement Canon
Jun 27, 2011

The Wertheimers, the family who controls the Chanel Group, have acquired grand cru classé Château Matras in St.-Emilion. The 31.6-acre estate borders Château Canon, a premier grand cru classé (B), also owned by the family. The price was $11.4 million or $368,932 per acre.

“It’s located just across the road at the bottom of the hill,” said John Kolasa, managing director of Chanel Group’s holdings in the area, including Châteaus Canon and Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux, and wine merchant Ulysse Cazabonne. He added that geologists are currently boring holes in the soil at Matras and have already made some surprising discoveries. “We’ve got a bit of everything,” said Kolasa. “We’ve got a very good clay and limestone at a meter and a half.”

And what kind of wine should customers expect? “I wouldn’t expect to make something as precise as Canon with the minerality and freshness. The soils are deeper, with more clay and sand—probably a bit more lush, like the wines made in that area, but I’m just guessing.”

Kolasa, 62, initially went hunting for more vines when he realized that with improved quality at Canon, his eventual successor might have few grapes for the 4,000- to 5,000-case production of Canon’s second wine, Clos Canon. “The vineyards in perfect condition at Canon will be making 95 percent grand vin. We have built up a brand, Clos Canon, over 20 years that sells well all over the world without any difficulties, a second wine of a first-growth, with really great quality for the price.”

The Matras vineyards will keep them supplied with Clos Canon and potentially increase the first wine. France's National Institute for Origin and Quality (INAO) is currently deciding whether Matras' grapes could go into Canon's wines. The Wertheimers already successfully lobbied the INAO for permission to absorb 8.6 acres of another small estate, Château Curé-Bon, into Canon in 2000.

The acquisition followed a path of acrimony familiar to those in Bordeaux. Two of the three sisters owning the estate wanted to sell, while the third sister, Veronique Gaboriaud Bernard, fought all the way to the French supreme court. She lost and is bitter over the sale. Her sisters could not be reached for comment.

Back at Canon, the mood is upbeat. Investments are planned to give Matras the Chanel touch. The historic chapel, which currently holds the cellar, will be restored with a new vat room and aging cellar. “I want to give it all the charm that it used to have,” said Kolasa.

“The most important thing for me is that I’ve bought a good terroir and I can continue to make a really very good Clos Canon and that will have the right value for the money,” said Kolasa.

Winery Purchases and Sales France Bordeaux News

You Might Also Like

Frescobaldi Buys Montepulciano’s Corte alla Flora

Frescobaldi Buys Montepulciano’s Corte alla Flora

Former owner of S.S. Lazio soccer team sells his 148-acre wine estate to Tuscany’s Marchesi …

Sep 16, 2021
NBA Star CJ McCollum Buys 318-Acre Oregon Property for Vineyard

NBA Star CJ McCollum Buys 318-Acre Oregon Property for Vineyard

The Portland Trail Blazer expands his wine business to Willamette Valley's Yamhill-Carlton …

Sep 15, 2021
Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation Donates $10 Million to Napa Valley College

Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation Donates $10 Million to Napa Valley College

The foundation, dedicated to advancing education in wine and food, announces its largest …

Sep 15, 2021
Provence Winemakers Return Home to Charred Vines and Fears of Smoke Taint

Provence Winemakers Return Home to Charred Vines and Fears of Smoke Taint

A wildfire in southern France’s Var region burned 600 acres of vines and exposed another …

Sep 14, 2021
Tesseron Family Sells Bordeaux's Château Lafon-Rochet

Tesseron Family Sells Bordeaux's Château Lafon-Rochet

Real-estate magnate and rugby team owner Jacky Lorenzetti adds the St.-Estèphe winery to …

Sep 10, 2021
Grand Award Winner Canlis’ Former Chef Opens Tomo in Seattle

Grand Award Winner Canlis’ Former Chef Opens Tomo in Seattle

Chef Brady Williams debuts the primarily prix-fixe restaurant after leaving the Grand Award …

Sep 9, 2021