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The purchase this week of Napa Valley’s Quixote Winery by Le Melange has made the news, but remember the name of Hong Kong-based businessman Pan Sutong.

When it comes to wines and the wine business, this 51-year-old Chinese businessman has fast become a game changer- but with many wondering if this new game is worth playing and how many can afford the stakes.

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After first coming into prominence as a horse owner- a new horse owner who won two prestigious Group 1 races at last year’s Hong Kong International Day with his two expensive equine purchases- Akeed Mofeed- a multi-million-dollar stallion- and Gold Fun- Pan Sutong, one of the richest of China’s nouveau riche, has expanded his portfolio to include polo clubs in that country- he is bringing the sport to China- and the global wine industry through his own multi-million dollar wine collection and purchase of vineyards.

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Pan Sutong has probably the best wine collection in the world and, following his Goldin Group acquiring the 16 hectare Sloan Estate in Napa Valley, pictured below, in 2011 for a reported US$40m followed by the acquisition of Chateau Pasteur in Pomerol that same year has been acquiring vineyards in France as if they’re going out of style.

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Of course, success breeds contempt, jealousy and even racism, and the businessman is not without his critics.

There are those, for example, who think he’s an opportunist- a man who is trying to buy class and style with his “new money”.

Others say his plethora of purchases with a money-is-no-objective cavalier spirit is gauche and creating a vastly over-priced market- especially in the wine industry.

But what can one do- and with all his financial clout- how does Pan Sutong rein it in- and why should he?

We’re tipping that he doesn’t care about his critics, and is focused on being the king of all he surveys- in every area of business.

From what we know, Pan Sutong will do as he darn well pleases with his passion for horses, polo and making money with daughter Judy, who, by the way, studied the wine business in Napa, and is now very much involved in this part of her father’s bulging portfolio of assets.

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