French Wine Magnate, Bernard Magrez, Wants to Give Bordeaux a Boost

October 15, 2009 at 11:39 pm (For the Love of Wine, Wine Tourism)

Bernard Magrez, wine magnate, has his sights set on Bordeaux. Read below about the famous multi-millionaire and his plans for promoting wine tourism in one of France’s well-known wine regions.

Bordeaux is set for shake-up

By Marcel Michelson

PARIS, Oct 13 (Reuters Life) – Bernard Magrez was 19 when he started working in Bordeaux wine and built up an emporium which now, at 73, counts 35 vineyards in several countries.

These days the self-made man and “new money” in the close-knit world of Bordeaux winemakers, says that many of the region’s “old money” families have lost the spirit to innovate and adapt to market changes.

As wine consumers become more adventurous, drinking wines from across the world, Bordeaux needs to focus on the top wines and invest in its high class image using wine tourism, aerial rides over the vineyards and posh picnics among the vines.

Magrez advises loss-making producers of lesser wines to get out of the business and pull up their vines before it’s too late.

We have gone through several crises already, cyclical crises. But this time I believe the crisis is structural,” he said in an interview. “Sooner or later we will see some drastic changes.”

For Magrez, many people in the industry have missed some fundamental changes in consumer behavior.

“In the past, a wine drinker was faithful to a small number of wines. But nowadays the modern consumer wants to try out different wines from different countries,” he said.

“A host wants to present a new wine to friends, share a discovery.”

Magrez made it easier for the consumer to find new wines as he put his name on the wines made in Spain, Portugal, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Morocco, Japan and California. But he has abandoned interests in Algeria and China.

“I am not a collector of vineyards,” he said. But said he could add another two or three.

Magrez worked for wine company Jean Cordier in Bordeaux for three years when, at 22, he bought a spirits firm.

“The sellers were two octogenarians and my bank manager was close to retirement. He had confidence in me.” Read the rest of this entry »

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