Robert G. Wilmers, owner of Château Haut-Bailly
On 30th July 1998 Château Haut-Bailly was purchased by American Robert G. Wilmers, chairman and CEO of the M & T Bank based in Buffalo, New York. As a lover of Bordeaux Grands Crus, his dream came true when he became the owner at Haut-Bailly. He spent much of his childhood and professional life in Belgium. Along with his French wife, Elisabeth, he continues his close ties with Europe, where some of their family live.
Robert G. Wilmers brought enrichment and opportunities to the property. In the hands of a passionate owner, Haut-Bailly’s future is full of assurance and promises. He is involved in all major decision making and keeps an eye on the strategic developments at Haut-Bailly.
Hugely conscious of Haut-Bailly’s history yet eager to ensure continuity and modernity, he entrusted in 1998 Haut-Bailly’s management to Véronique Sanders, granddaughter of Jean Sanders. The focus has since been to develop the property with the sole aim of proving that Château Haut-Bailly deserves its status of "Crû exceptionnel”.
Thanks to his significant investment the vineyard, farm buildings, winery and finally the château were all renovated and with these investments as a result every vintage is demonstrating the prestige of this unique wine, year after year.
Robert G. Wilmers’ biography
ROBERT G. WILMERS is Chairman and CEO of M&T Bank, based in Buffalo, New York, one of the largest banks in America with assets totaling more than $78 billion. He graduated from Harvard College and attended the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. After working in industry and banking in New York City, he served in New York City government and then worked at J.P. Morgan Bank. Since May 1983 he has headed M&T Bank. He was a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for six years. He and his wife, Elisabeth, share an interest in art, theatre and Franco-American relations. For them, Haut-Bailly goes well beyond a financial investment; it is their shared passion.
Chateau Haut-Bailly’s dedicated team
Véronique Sanders, General managerIn 1998, at the age of 30, Véronique Sanders became the General Manager of Château Haut-Bailly, making her one of a very small number of women in charge of a vineyard and the fourth generation of her family to be associated with Haut-Bailly. After two years of preparation at the Grandes Ecoles françaises, she obtained a Master’s degree in economics at the Sorbonne. She began her career at Publicis-FCB in Paris and Prague. Deciding to improve her knowledge about wine, she returned to Bordeaux in 1997 to obtain her DUAD diploma from the Faculty of Oenology. Following the sale of Château Haut-Bailly by her grandfather, Jean Sanders, Robert G. Wilmers appointed Véronique as Commercial Director in 1998 and General Manager in 2000. She manages Haut-Bailly with a continued family spirit but also with renewed dynamism from the significant investment made by the new owner. Her goal: to enable Haut-Bailly wines to achieve excellence and perpetuate their elegance. From 2006 to 2009, she was chosen to serve as Présidente des Crus Classés de Graves.
Gabriel Vialard, technical managerGabriel Vialard grew up in Pauillac where his family owned Château Clerc-Milon. He received his diploma from the Faculty of Oenology of Bordeaux in 1989 and completed his training at Château Mouton-Rothschild. He came to Haut-Bailly in 2002, where he is responsible for the vineyards and the cellars, and has actively been involved in the renovation of the property.