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Pichon-Lalande and Hermès Explore an Alliance

Bordeaux second-growth is in negotiations with the fashion dynasty

Mitch Frank
Posted: May 10, 2006

The owners of Château Pichon-Longueville-Lalande, one of Bordeaux's top second-growths, are in talks to sell a major stake in the estate to the Hermès family, owners of the famed Paris luxury and fashion company.

According to Pichon-Lalande's finance director, they hope to complete a deal by July. "The word I would use is alliance," said Jean-Claude Lafrance. "Perhaps a joint venture."

Owner May-Eliane de Lencquesaing, who turns 81 next month, has controlled Pichon-Lalande since 1978. Her father bought the Pauillac estate more than 75 years ago, and it has become one of the Left Bank's top performers under her leadership, producing wines that regularly score classic on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale. The Hermès family has controlled the fashion house for almost 170 years and has substantial capital available.

While Lafrance would not say how big a stake Hermès was looking to buy, he said the money would go to the château's heirs and would also bring considerable resources to the estate.

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