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Vinexpo: Asian investors still thirsty for Bordeaux chateaux deals

Prospective Asian buyers of Bordeaux chateaux packed a seminar room at Vinexpo Asia Pacific this week to learn about the process of purchasing an estate - suggesting more deals are on the horizon.

The number of Bordeaux wine estates sold to Chinese buyers has risen steadily in the past three years, from 21 in 2011 to 26 in 2012 and 36 in 2013, conference-goers heard during the seminar.

Several prospective buyers in the Vinexpo-hosted seminar in Hong Kong this week told Decanter.com that they were actively seeking to invest.

Some of those speaking at the event, including representatives of real estate agency Maxwell Storrie Baynes (MSB), said they picked up potential clients there.

MSB agent Karin Maxwell told the audience that there are several opportunities at different price points.

‘The price of the dream varies enormously,’ she said, highlighting one AOC Bordeaux 25ha estate and property on the market for just under €1m and which has 14ha of planted vines. Another property on MSB’s list – a 19th Century chateau – is value at €12m, and already produces 1m bottles of wine annually on its estate.

Land prices vary significantly between appellations in Bordeaux. Pauillac is the most expensive, with an average price of €2m per hectare, said Michel Lachat, from Premium Transactions Viticoles, a local affiliate of the French agency Safer, which monitors agricultural land acquisitions in France.

This compares to around €1m per hectare in St Julien and Margaux, and €300,000 in St Estephe. Below that, basic AOC Bordeaux land is €12,000 to €40,000 per hectare.

Lachat said the profile of investors has changed in recent years, with more buyers interested in producing and selling wine. ‘At the beginning we had very non-professional investors. They just liked the look of the house, the place.’

Maxwell told the audience that prices look relatively attractive in several appellations, having not risen significant in the last few years.

‘We can’t predict the future, but we seem to be coming out of the bottom of a cycle. As far as we can see from previous cycles, we are at a moment which is a good time to invest.’

Written by Chris Mercer

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