葡萄酒版《溏心風暴》
Heart and Greed

勃艮第的羅曼尼康帝與勒樺兩大酒莊出產世界上最昂貴的葡萄酒舉世皆知,曾有雜誌刊登的”法國富豪排行榜”上,羅曼尼康帝酒莊所屬的勒樺家族及德維蘭家族以3.8億歐元(約35.7億港幣)資產排行第115位!可是德維蘭和勒樺兩個家族的恩怨多年來卻鮮為人知,這個葡萄酒界版的《溏心風暴》,比電視劇還要精彩……
The world’s most expensive wines are produced by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Leroy in the Burgundy region. As owners of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the Leroy and the de Villaine families ranked 115th with 380 million euros worth of assets on the French Rich List. Actually, the grudges of the two families are rarely known. What brews in a vineyard can be rather excitings.

text: 蒲東

話說多年來羅曼尼康帝酒莊均由勒樺家族及德維蘭家族共同擁有,各佔50%。當1980年勒樺家族的主理人亨利勒樺過世後,他將股權平均分給兩位女兒拉露及寶麗娜,即兩姊妹各擁25%股份,當中拉露還繼承了父親留下的葡萄酒買賣公司「勒樺世家」,而酒莊的實際經營,寶麗娜都交由拉露及德維蘭家族的奧貝爾德維蘭共同執行。

拉露與奧貝爾翻臉的導火線,是因為羅曼尼康帝一貫的「捆綁式銷售」方式:要知道一瓶羅曼尼康帝必定會和酒莊的其它酒款,如踏雪丶羅曼尼聖維望等十一瓶酒集成一套出售,而除美國和英國市場外,經銷權全部都由拉露的「勒樺世家」掌管。

90年代初期,日本人開始大量購入羅曼尼康帝,拉露覺得是商機,於是以高於官方售價的價格──1,570歐元(約14,750港幣)與日本經銷商簽下訂單,其實日本經銷商只對羅曼尼康帝這瓶酒感興趣,(當時一瓶1988年的羅曼尼康在日本被炒高價格至1,524歐元(約14,318港幣)!於是酒一到手就立即將其餘11 瓶酒拆開來賣,以賤價賣到其它國家。當時美國官方經銷商將一瓶1988年的踏雪定價為200美元(約1,570港幣),而一瓶從日本賣過來去的「水貨」則只售125 美元(約港幣981)!

美國代理商當然極度不滿,向酒莊要求退貨之餘更索償41萬歐元(約382萬港幣)。奧貝爾認為拉露要負全責,補償金當然亦要求拉露一人支付。拉露當然一口否決,後經由雙方家庭成員投票決議,拉露被罷免酒莊管理者的職位,奧貝爾更將拉露告上法庭,最終法庭判決剝奪拉露對羅曼尼康帝酒莊的經銷權。

自90年代初拉露離開羅曼尼康帝酒莊之後,接手管理的拉露外甥亨利丶奧貝爾從此與拉露不相往來,在試酒會上很少會見到三人同場,據聞甚至連在同一家餐廳用餐,都會視對方如陌生人般互不理睬,而出名難相處的拉露,亦有很長的一段時間與女兒不和。但種種打擊沒有令天生強悍的她倒下來,反之更堅定地全身心投入「勒華世家」生意上,更自立「勒樺」品牌葡萄酒,憑著對釀酒的天資與努力不懈,「勒樺」葡萄酒今天在價格與名氣幾可與羅尼康帝分庭伉禮!

為了一個「錢」字弄至與親人鬩牆,似乎是千古不變定律。

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti was co-owned by the Leroys and the de Villaines, each having 50% . Henri Leroy divided his share equally between his daughters Lalou and Pauline before passing away in 1980, entitling the girls to 25% each of the total shares with Aubert de Villaine owning the other half of the Domaine. Aside from the Domaine, Lalou also inherited the trading wine company, the Maison Leroy.

The relationship between Lalou and Aubert was marred after discord over Lalou’s strategy of bundled sales (one bottle of Romanée-Conti with the Domaine’s other 11 bottles of wine including La Tache and Saint-Vivant) where customers purchased other wines in order to buy one Romanée- Conti. With Maison Leroy in charge of all distribution rights, except the United States and the United Kingdom,when the Japanese were purchasing Romanée-Conti in bulk in the early 1990s, Lalou seized the opportunity and signed the orders with Japanese distributors at a price of 1,570 euros (about HKD 14,750), which was higher than the official price.

The truth was a 1988 Romanée-Conti was selling at 1,524 euros (about HKD 14,318) in Japan; therefore, Japanese distributors bargained away the other 11 bottles immediately after the wines arrived. While the official price for Ta Tache in the United States was USD 200 (about HKD 1,570), the same wine coming from Japan was only USD 125 (about HKD 981).

Extremely dissatisfied about the condition, wine agents in the United States returned the wines and demanded a compensation of over 410,000 euros (HKD 3.82 million). Not only was Lalou asked to shoulder the amount but she was also dismissed from her position. She was put to trial and was evoked of the distributorship rights of Domaine de la Romaném-Conti.

Since Lalou left Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in early 1990s, her nephew Henri has taken over the business. Aubert and Lalou ignored each other at wine-tasting occasions and even treated as strangers when dining in the same restaurant. Lalou, famous for being disagreeable, has long suffered fractured relationship with her daughter.

However, all sorts of blows did not knock her down. On the contrary, she firmly committed herself to the business of Maison Leroy and established the brand “Leroy” on a series of wines. With her talent in winery and unyielding effort, Leroy stands in par with Romanée-Conti in both price and reputation.

It seems to be the law of invariance to have a family fight over money.