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Burgundy grand cru vineyard prices still rising

A single hectare of a Burgundy grand cru vineyard cost more than 4.3m euros on average last year and some fetched up to 10m euros, show new figures that reinforce the wine region’s reputation as the world's most expensive.

Clos des Lambrays, acquired by LVMH in 2014.

The average price of Burgundy grand cru vineyards rose by nearly 9% in 2014, to 4.35m euros per hectare, according to France’s Safer agency, which governs agricultural land deals.

But, it said prices ranged from 2m euros to 10m euros per hectare. That compares to a top price of just 60,000 euros p/ha for vineyards certified as regional Burgundy AOP.

Last year, luxury goods group Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton bought the 8.66 hectare Clos des Lambrays grand cru vineyard and associated estate in Morey St-Denis. Local sources said they believed LVMH paid close to 100m euros on the acquisition, but an official fee was never disclosed.

The French government figures suggest that collectors’ seemingly inexorable thirst for top Burgundy wines has been reflected in the price of the area’s best vineyards.

But, the data will do little to allay local concerns about the consequences of higher land prices for vineyard ownership succession.

There was little overall change at the top of the French government’s vineyard price league table in 2014.

Bordeaux’s Pauillac appellation trailed Burgundy’s grands crus, but still weighed in at 2m euros per hectare on average, level with the previous two years. Vineyards in Margaux, St Julien and Pomerol cost 1m euros p/ha last year, with Pomerol up 11% and the other two broadly flat.

Against this, St Emilion and St Estephe looked relative bargains at 220,000 and 350,000 euros per hectare respectively.

Further north, Champagne vineyards sold for around 1.2m euros p/ha on average last year, Safer said.

Elsewhere in France, some of the cheapest vineyards were in Languedoc-Roussillon, traditionally the productive powerhouse of French table wines, although more recently improving its quality image via a new generation of winemakers in several appellations. Vineyards in Corbieres, in western Languedoc, cost 5,000 euros p/ha on average last year, Safer said.

Further east, Beaujolais Villages vines cost 11,000 euros p/ha on average, albeit Beaujolais Crus cost 57 euros p/ha.

Written by Chris Mercer

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