Introduction to Business Case Essays
The owner of the prestigious Château de Vallois must decide whether to launch an aﬀordable wine. by Daniela Beyersdorfer and Vincent Dessain
Corinne Mentzelopoulos is the owner and CEO of Château Margaux, a ﬁrstgrowth wine estate in the Bordeaux region of France.
Preserve The Luxury Or Extend The Brand?
aspard de Sauveterre shivered as he stepped out of a side entrance to his château. While the late September days were still warm, he could feel autumn approaching. The 75-year-old owner of Château de Vallois, a famous wine-producing estate in the Bordeaux region of France, felt a familiar thrill. This was the season he and his team had worked toward the whole year; any day now …show more content…
Philippe Sereys de Rothschild is the Vice Chairman of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, a family ﬁrm that manages the ﬁrstgrowth Château Mouton Rothschild, other estates, and branded wines.
HBR’s ﬁctionalized case studies present dilemmas faced by leaders in real companies and oﬀer solutions from experts. This one is based on the HBS Case Study “Marketing Château Margaux” (case no. 507-033), by John Deighton, Vincent Dessain, Leyland Pitt, Daniela Beyersdorfer, and Anders Sjoman. It is available at hbr.org.
ILLUSTRATION: LARA TOMLIN
January–February 2011 Harvard Business Review 173
directly to customers, as some of the other top traditional Bordeaux estates had done. When Gaspard mentioned the encounter to François de Sauveterre—his son, Claire’s uncle, and the château’s CEO—later that evening, François’ first reaction was to raise a skeptical eyebrow. But he agreed to give his niece a hearing; after all, she had inherited her mother’s 25% share of the estate, the same stake he held. Gaspard had the remaining 50%, and although François had taken over day-today operations five years ago, the elder de Sauveterre would certainly weigh in on any change in strategy, particularly one as dramatic as Claire’s.
“Vines are like