A few years ago, we noticed frenetic activity on the upper Saint-Émilion plateau, just opposite Château Troplong Mondot. Château Tour Saint-Christophe had a new owner and the entire property was being restored and upgraded. One of the primary objectives was to revive the vineyard terraces as they’d been originally constructed in the 18th century. Stone walls, almost 1.5 km long, were painstakingly repaired by hand, a two-year process to preserve the appearance of these unique terraces in Saint-Emilion.
Peter Kwok is the visionary behind the reconstruction. Born in Vietnam, then later educated in Taiwan and Berkeley, Kwok made his fortune in China. He is currently chairman of CITIC Resources Holdings, the energy subsidiary of CITIC Group, China’s huge state-owned investment company, as well as managing director of his own company, USI Partners. USI owns Starwood group hotels in China and Tibet. Kwok also owns a solar panel farm in Tibet.
In addition to his extraordinary business acumen, Kwok is passionate about all things French — particularly Bordeaux wine. Over the past 20 years he has purchased seven estates — a remarkable achievement given the land values in the region. Besides Château Tour Saint-Christophe, Peter Kwok’s Vignobles K Group also owns Château La Patache, Enclos Tourmaline, Enclos de Viaud, Château Le Rey and Château Haut-Brisson, his first Bordeaux estate, purchased in 1997.
Last year Kwok acquired Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé Château Bellefont-Belcier for an undisclosed sum.The 33.4-acre estate also has plots on the fabled Saint-Émilion limestone plateau and south-facing clay-limestone slopes.
Recently we had a chance to tour Château Tour Saint-Christophe and sample wines from the Vignobles K estates. Peter Kwok also graciously consented to this interview.