After Zhao Wei’s sudden disappearance from the public scene and social media, assumptions about her close link to Jack Ma were reported in early September.
Indeed, Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, shared the same interest in Bordeaux’s wine-making business. He had made some of the most high-profile Bordeaux sales and boosted a group of Chinese investors buying a total of 15 Bordeaux châteaux, reported by Decanter as the ‘Jack Ma influence’.
In 2016, he first acquired Chateau de Sours in Entre-Deux-Mers with a wish to create “a mini Versailles”. The vineyard includes an 18th century castle and an 85-hectare property. The estate produces 500,000 bottles a year.
Later in the same year, he purchased Château Guerry and Chateau Perenne in Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux in 2016. The 20-hectare Chateau Guerry produces 84,000 bottles of red annually. The 64-hectare Château Perenne is planted with mainly Merlot grapes, and produces around 500,000 bottles of red and white wine in a year.
In 2019, Decanter reported that Château de Sours would work on new cellars and wine making facilities that year.
According to a review of Château de Sours in 2020, the winery has all six red Bordeaux varieties planted, and also growing grapes from northern Portugal and northern Spain. A new winery and new wine is said to be released in 2022. Only occasional limited releases were sold within China via the FreshHema online shopping platform owned by Alibaba in that year.
When Jack Ma left Alibaba on the company’s 20th-anniversary, he gave out special bottles of sparkling rosé labelled Mars Sours to 60,000 Alibaba employees as a farewell gift.
Jack Ma also showed his dedication to promote wine by launching September 9 as Alibaba’s Global Wine and Spirits Shopping Festival in 2016.