By ANITA SKARPAS ——–
Fine wines of the world may make for memorable dinners and conversations, or valuable investments for collectors. But there is another role for one of the world’s great wine chateaux, according to the owner of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild in Bordeaux, France.
“I think all the peace conferences in the world, we should start them off by having people drink half a bottle of Lafite each” Baron Eric de Rothschild said at a wine conference in 2003. He was not only a banker, investor and a manager; he was a dedicated wine producer and owner of Château Lafite, one of the most prestigious of wine properties, once collected by Thomas Jefferson.
De Rothschild died TKTKday from TKTK. He was TK years old and leaves behind his wife Beatrice and three children.
The baron came from a very prestigious background. His family built up a banking empire in war-torn Europe that made the Rothschild family one of the richest in the world. Eric would later follow in the footsteps of many of his family members and become a banker himself.
After the French government nationalized it in the 1982, he took part in rebuilding the bank and creating a new financial services company.
Banking was not his only passion. In 1974 he took over the family-owned winery Château Lafite-Rothschild. The winery produces world-renowned wines and Baron Eric de Rothschild played an important role in working to extend the business to include other wineries in the region as well. “Lafite is a place that I deeply and profoundly love,” de Rothschild said at the wine conference. The winery accounts for a large portion of the family wealth, with bottles ranging in price from $165 to $2,500 and more.
The baron was not the stereotypical Rothschild. He was born in New York and lived there until he was 8 years old. He attended a French lycée in the United States, but moved to France and then to England to study at a preparatory school. He returned to France for his baccalaureate and eventually earned a degree in business management and machine-building.
De Rothschild and his family have been important donors to Jewish charities for decades. He was the President of Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris and been an advocate for all victims of Nazi atrocities. He was a leader within the French Jewish community and an important financier.
Liquidating part of his fortune, de Rothschild sold the family’s Remrandt portraits to the Musee du Louvre and Rijksmuseum in July 2016. He inherited the portraits together with his brother after the death of their father in 1982. The famous Rembrandts had the price tag of 160 million euros.
“The real pleasure of wine is sharing,” de Rothschild once said. He described bringing different people together, with wine being the unifying factor.
There is no doubt that he was confident in the high quality of his wine. “It is the difference between a one night stand and the girl you marry,” he told the magazine Wine Spectator. “You want to marry Lafite and spend your life with every Lafite you drink.”
(Written by Anita Skarpas; Nov. 10, 2016)