Prince Robert of Luxembourg, tenth-in-line to the Luxembourg throne and CEO of Domaine Clarence Dillon was interviewed by CNBC’s Wealth Editor, Robert Frank about the success of the Bordeaux wine industry and the company.
Domaine Clarence Dillon owns three wine estates, with one producing the historical Haut-Brion wine which had its first vintage in 1525. The wine is said to have been enjoyed by American founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, with Jefferson saying that it was “the very best of Bordeaux wine”. Haut-Brion is the first recorded first growth wine to be imported to the USA and is estimated to be the oldest luxury brand wine in the world. The company was founded after Prince Robert’s great grandfather, Clarence Dillon bought Château Haut-Brion for 2,300,000 francs in 1935.
In the interview, Prince Robert talks about the upcoming auction in which over 1 million dollars of wine will be auctioned. Despite the wine market going through a rough patch in the last two years, Prince Robert seemed hopeful that the auction would go well. He noted the growing interest from around the world, not just from Europe, as American and Chinese interest in the industry grew. “Even for a small family business like ours, we’ve seen the strength of the global market, and I anticipate we will see that in the auction tomorrow”
“The wine market like the art market, like the collectible car market has gone through a bit of a tough phase in the last 12 months to 2 years.”
Prince Robert has expanded the businesses and boosted awareness of the family owned famous brands. In 2005, he launched a more accessible but premium brand of wine, Clarendelle, with bottles costing just £15.50. When the Prince first joined the company in 2008 the Paris office employed just two people, now it employs 350. As well as that, they launched a new luxury restaurant in France last November, which is of course well stocked with wine. The launching of a wine museum is also one of the Prince’s achievements while CEO of the company. In four months it attracted 180,000 visitors. Prince Robert notes that the museum is to “celebrate global wine culture”, as well as highlighting the interest from Chinese and American tourists and visitors.
The success of the auction which took place yesterday is yet to be seen. However, it is clear that Prince Robert is expecting to see good results.