Chris Wilmers, son of Chateau Haut-Bailly owner Robert Wilmers, is to take the helm at the Graves wine estate following the death of his father at the age of 83 last month, and will work with Managing Director Veronique Sanders to ensure the continuity of the vineyard, according to a statement from the chateau.
Chris Wilmers has been a board member at Haut-Bailly since 1998 and closely involved with the development of the estate. He is an ecology professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz. where he lives with his wife and two sons. His research into wildlife ecology and climate change will contribute to the future development of the estate. He went to graduate school at UC Berkeley and wrote a dissertation there on how the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park affected the ecosystem. He has published more than 65 scientific papers.
Haut-Bailly has 30 hectares (74 acres) under vine, of which 4 hectares near the chateau are historic mixed vines and the remainder are 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 34 percent Merlot, 3 percent Cabernet Franc and 3 percent Petit Verdot.
Robert Wilmers, who was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of M&T Bank for more than 30 years, acquired the property in 1998 and invested in both viniculture and technology, aiming to elevate its wines to rival the great Bordeaux left-bank estates. He celebrated the award of a perfect 100 score by critic Robert Parker for his 2009 vintage by flying the estate's staff to New York.
Haut-Bailly's 2016 and 2005 vintages now sell for about 1,000 pounds ($1,386) per 12-bottle case while the 2009 sells for more than 1,700 pounds per case.