French journal Le Nouvel Observateur recently published a list of France's 500 wealthiest families (and individuals). As the top Bordeaux chateaux are clearly powerful luxury brands in their own right, we thought it would be interesting to see how many of these families count major estates among their portfolios. In our June study, "Valuing the great estates of Bordeaux", we suggested that Bordeaux's biggest names have a combined market value of more than €15 billion. Unsurprisingly, then, the list of chateau owners in "Le palmarès des grandes fortunes" runs into the dozens.
The richest of the rich, it seems, is Bernard Arnaud of LVMH - the luxury goods company at the helm of Yquem and Cheval Blanc. François Pinault of Latour is the second chateau owner to make the top five, whilst those in the top 40 include Alan Wertheimer, head of Chanel (which owns both Canon and Rauzan Segla); Robert Peugeot, a shareholder of Guiraud; and Martin and Olivier Bouygues of Montrose and Tronquoy Lalande. There is, of course, place for the Rothschilds in the top 100, as well as for Corinne Mentzelopoulos of Chateau Margaux.
A number of famous names from outside Bordeaux also make the top 200, including Champagne's Moet, Chandon and Hennessey families, Domaine Romanee Conti's Leroy and Villaine families, and the Nonancourts of Laurent-Perrier – owners of Salon Mesnil.
The table below shows some of the chateau owners that have made this year's rich list.