Château Haut-Brion: The Modern Era

It might seem strange for Clarence Dillon, a Harvard-educated Texan, to desire ownership of a Bordeaux château, but perhaps less so if we consider the man for a moment. Dillon’s mother was of French descent, and although Dillon worked for the American bank Read (where he was so successful he ultimately became director, the bank renamed Dillon Read & Co.) he was clearly well acquainted with France and her charms. He spent his honeymoon in France, a sojourn that expanded into a two-year sabbatical, and from 1929 he owned an apartment in Paris which he would frequently visit with his wife. He came to love the country and the acquisition of a grand property, for someone who enjoyed such financial success, was perhaps the natural next step.

Château Haut-Brion

Although in family ownership a limited company, the Société Vinicole de la Gironde (the forerunner of today’s Domaine Clarence Dillon SA), was established, not an uncommon move as it prevents division of the estate when it is passed from one generation to the next.

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