The first money Silvio Denz ever earned was by catching mice. He was paid 20 centimes per mouse, and on good days, the ten-year-old earned 14 francs. He didn’t spend his wages on candy, but saved conscientiously. The money is still in his savings account, says the successful, but down-to-earth businessman. Today, Denz still goes hunting in cellars – but his sights are no longer set on mice, but on exquisite wines. In 2005, he fulfilled a dream by buying Château Faugères in Saint-Émilion. Denz has a fine nose, and not only for wines. In the 1990s, he turned his father’s perfume business into a success – thus laying the foundation for his extraordinary career. The Swiss entrepreneur’s particular strength lies in tracking down forgotten jewels and making them shine again. Be it the Alsatian glassmaker Lalique, which he polished up from a dusty traditional company to a luxury brand, or his real estate business in London, where he buys dilapidated mansions in prime locations, fully renovates and resells them. And at Château Faugères, Denz had a new wine cellar built by Ticino architect Mario Botta. Since then, the wine world has spoken admiringly of this «cathedral of wine.» At the same time, the entrepreneur pulled out all the stops to bring his château up to the Grand Cru Classé quality level. He achieved this milestone in 2012, turning the unassuming Château Faugères into a modern Bordeaux icon.
James Suckling: 95/100, Robert Parker: 92/100, Falstaff: 94/100 points