France's far-right Front National yesterday weighed into the row over the sale of a historic Burgundy manor house and its highly-prized vineyards to a Macau gaming tycoon. The sale of the Chateau de Gevrey-Chambertin, a listed 12th-century building which has two hectares of vineyards in one of Burgundy's top appellations, to the unidentified Chinese businessman has already been attacked by local winemakers who had failed in their own bid to buy the estate. "These winemakers should have been given some help from the government to preserve this national treasure for the country," said Front National vice-president Florian Philippot. "This sale is symptomatic of the threat to our heritage. France cannot just accept everything. We need to look at creating a new legal and regulatory framework to ensure the preservation of our heritage." The chateau was sold earlier this year by its French owners for an unprecedented figure of €8 million (HK$78 million), according to Jean-Michel Guillon, president of the Gevrey-Chambertin winemakers syndicate. Guillon said that a group of locals had attempted to buy the chateau to turn it into a visitor and reception centre but had been priced out of the bidding. "The owners wanted €7 million and they sold it for eight," Guillon said. "I hope this is not the start of a wave of foreign investors moving into Burgundy. Unlike its rival Bordeaux, Burgundy remains dominated by relatively small estates run by winemakers who, regardless of how prosperous they may have become in recent years, regard themselves primarily as farmers. Properties generally pass down from generation to generation, making foreign ownership relatively rare, again in contrast to Bordeaux. It is these cultural differences that explain the angry reaction to the sale of the Chateau de Gevrey-Chambertin, rather than any anti-Chinese sentiment, according to Bernard Farges, a leading figure in the French wine world. "I understand their reaction," Farges said. "They are shocked by the terms of the sale - the price. " We have had foreign investors in Bordeaux for a long time now. It's not a case of xenophobia. They [in Burgundy] just haven't got used to it yet."