France’s Wine Industry Pledges to Help Repair Notre-Dame
The families behind brands like Chateau Latour and Moët & Chandon have promised millions after a fire damaged the cathedral on April 15.
Officials in Paris are still assessing the damage of yesterday’s devastating blaze at the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral. But though the cause and full extent of the fire may not yet be known, one thing is already certain: Money is pouring in to repair the 850-year-old structure — including massive donations from two major names in the world of French wine.
The news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that two French billionaires, Francois Pinault and “crosstown rival” Bernard Arnault, have pledged to donate 100 million euros ($124 million) and 200 million euros ($248 million) respectively to help rebuild the iconic cathedral.
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Pinault is the chairman of Kering, the international luxury retail giant behind names like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, and his holding company Groupe Artemis owns a half dozen wineries including Bordeux’s Chateau Latour, Napa Valley’s Eisele Vineyard, and Burgundy’s Clos de Tart. For the record, Groupe Artemis’s own website boasts that the entity’s “consolidated assets exceed 30 billion euros,” so a few repairs on an old church shouldn’t set Pinault and company back too much.
Not to be outdone, Arnault’s luxury conglomerate LVMH Group — those letters stand for Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton — took to Instagram to announce they’d be donating twice as much. “In the wake of this national tragedy, the Arnault family and the LVMH Group pledge their support for #NotreDame,” the post states. “They will donate a total of 200 million euros to the fund for reconstruction of this architectural work, which is an integral part of the history of France.”
LVMH’s boozy interests include 27 different producers in the wine and spirits category, which beyond the brands mentioned in its name also features Chateau d’Yquem, Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Ardbeg, Chateau Cheval Blanc, Glenmorangie, Krug, Cloudy Bay, Belvedere, and Terrazas de los Andes — just to name a few.
Meanwhile, proving there’s more to life than money, the Charlois group, which owns a number of cooperages producing barrels for the industry, has pledged to make wood available for any repairs. “The work will surely take years, decades even, but it will require thousands of cubic meters of wood,” Sylvain Charlois said according to the AFP. “We'll have to find the best specimens, with large diameters.” Who says alcohol can’t solve your problems?