The Chateau de Gevrey-Chambertin in the region of Burgundy has been sold to a Chinese gambling tycoon for the sum of eight million euros.
Famous for producing Napoleon's favourite wine, the winery is comprised of a 12th Century listed building as well as a two-hectare vineyard with pinot-noir grapes.
It is the first Burgundy chateau to fall into the hands of the Chinese, who have already bought up 20 Bordeaux chateaux in order to supply a sky-rocketing demand in China for French wines.
However, local winegrowers are furious at the sale, as they have grave concerns for the French wine-making heritage.
Jean-Michel Guillion, the president of the Gevrey-Chambertin winemakers syndicate, said: "Our heritage is going out the window because it is not the only [foreign] purchase we've seen in the area. I'm afraid that within years, Burgundy will no longer belong to the Burgundians."
Local wine makers are particularly angry as they found themselves outbid by the unnamed Chinese investor after putting in a bid of five million euros for the chateau – well above the estimated value of three million.
Although the vineyards of Gevrey Chambertin only produce around 12,000 bottles per year, out of a total of more than two million for the whole appellation, Mr Guillion argues that foreign investors are plundering French heritage.
He argued: "I have nothing against the investor…but if we turned the tables, what would the Chinese say if French investors bought up ten or 50 metres of the Great Wall of China?"
Asian investors started buying up chateaux as early as 2008, with some transformed into luxury hotels for high end Chinese clientele.
With China now the biggest importer of Bordeaux wines – with consumption up 110 per cent in 2011 alone – French winegrowers are only likely to see more of their chateaux being sold off to foreign investors.
Thank you for your enquiry, do you wish to proceed