Vodka tycoon nets £25m Scottish estate

Russian billionaire named as new owner of 21,000 acre country sports ‘utopia’, the Tulchan Estate

The magnificent 21,000 acre Tulchan Estate on Speyside has been sold to a Russian vodka billionaire.

Scotland’s most expensive sporting estate hit the market via Savills and Davis & Bowring last year – asking over £25m – and went on to receive interest from all over the world. Described as the “ultimate utopia” for country sports enthusiasts, the extraordinary package included eight miles of double bank fishing on the Spey (revered by fly fishermen the world over as one of the greatest of all salmon rivers), an “exceptional” pheasant shoot, two driven grouse moors, red and roe deer stalking, a hill loch with brown trout fishing, snipe and woodcock shooting and wild duck flighting.

The historic Edwardian centrepiece, Tulchan Lodge, has welcomed a roster of esteemed guests over the years, including King Edward VII, King George V, King George VI, William Vanderbilt, Theodore Roosevelt and King Leopold of Belgium.

After 23 years of ownership, the Litchfield family announced in August that it was time for “someone new to take the reins”, and stewardship of the epic sporting and wildlife paradise has passed to Yuri Schefler, a regular guest at the estate and boss of Russian drinks giant SPI Group (producers of Stolichnaya vodka, along with around 380 other brands). Forbes’ latest rundown puts his personal fortune at £1.34bn.

A Savills spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: “The company has been bought by a company for the principal benefit of Mr Yuri Schefler of Russia, who is well known to the estate having been a regular visitor in the past.

“It is understood that the new owner of TSEL will continue to operate the estate as a business along similar lines as the Litchfield family and plans to make additional investment and innovation in the business.

“This was an important factor to the sellers, as the estate makes a valuable contribution to the local economy employing 20 full time and a further 20 seasonal staff.”