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French land study points to widening price gap between appellations

The difference in the price of vineland between French appellations is greater than it has ever been, according to a study.

Going down…vineland in Languedoc

According to figures from the French government’s land agency SAFER, the average price for a hectare of AOP vines in France in 2012 rose to €131,700, up from €116,000 in 2011. In 2005 it was €83,000.

The study cited a rise of 21.5% in Champagne, 10% in Cognac, against continuing drops in the Languedoc-Roussillon, where prices average €11,800 per hectare.

Not all appellations have seen the same evolution. Condrieu, in the Rhone Valley, cost on average €600,000 per hectare in 2012, a gentle drop from €609,000 in 2011 but a significant rise from €463,100 in 2010.

The prices are a continued concern for young winemakers wanting to enter the market. SAFER has a ‘right to buy’ agricultural land in France, and intervenes in around 38% of land sales to ensure equal opportunities for young winemakers.

To help with transparency of pricing, a new website, le-prix-des-terres.fr was launched by SAFER at the end of May.

According to the website, a hectare in Cotes de Bourg in Bordeaux was an average price of €22,000 in 2012, down from €24,100 in 2008.

The average in Pomerol has also dropped, to €900,000 from a high of €1.047m in 2008, while Pauillac rose to €2m average per hectare, from €733,500 in 2008.

In Marne Cotes de Blanc, average prices in 2012 were €1.56m per hectare, up from €1.2m in 2011 and €1.1m in 2008.

Prices were being forced upward by investors offering above-average sums for land, Thierry Brouin of Domaine des Lambrays in Morey-St-Denis in Burgundy told Decanter.com.

‘The rise in land prices affects all of us. People come in and offer crazy sums that are way over the existing average price for appellations, and drive everything upwards. If this continues, in 10 years time, there will be few traditional winemakers left in Burgundy’.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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