Buying a French vineyard can cost you wildly different amounts, depending on such things as the prestige of the appellation, health of the vines and any property, branding or stocks that go with them.
All the same, recently updated figures from French land agency Safer suggest that dream of buying a Burgundy grand cru vineyard might have just moved a little further into the distance.
A single hectare of grand cru vines in the Côte d’Or was valued at €6.765m on average in 2020, up 4% versus 2019, according to Safer’s prix des terres data. That’s if you can find anything to buy, of course.
If that you think that sounds prohibitive, then some winemakers might agree. There have been concerns about rising land costs and the associated difficulties of navigating France’s inheritance laws.
Across France, a hectare of appellation vineyard cost an average €150,500 in 2020 – or around €78,000 if Champagne is excluded.
Champagne made up 52% of the value of all appellation vineyards in France in 2020, despite only accounting for 7% of the planted surface area, Safer said in its latest annual report on land prices.
Its figures show the most expensive area was Côte des Blancs, where vines cost €1.6m per hectare in 2020, albeit down 3% versus 2019.
Overall vineyard value in Champagne dropped by around 1% last year, mainly due to the market impact of Covid-19 on demand for the region’s wines, said Safer.
Some of the biggest price increases in 2020 were seen in key Bordeaux appellations.
Beyond Champagne and grand cru Burgundy, here are 10 other appellation groups that are among the most expensive in France:
- Pauillac: €2.8m / ha, up 22%
- Pomerol: 2m up 5%
- Premier cru white Burgundy (Côte d’Or): €1.69m, up 2%
- St-Julien: €1.6m, up 23%
- Margaux: €1.5m, up 15%
- Côte-Rôtie: €1.15m, stable
- Pessac-Léognan: €600,000, up 20%
- St-Estèphe: €550,000, stable
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape: €450,000, stable
- St-Emilion: €300,000, up 3%
However, there is a huge disparity in vineyard prices in France.
Prices for AOP vineyards have more than doubled since 1997, but some are still well below the average.
In the Hérault department of Languedoc, for example, AOP vineyard land cost €17,500 per hectare on average last year, level with 2019.
Prices can vary for different plots, depending upon their location and quality potential.
Provence has seen an influx of high-profile buyers in the last couple of years.
Prices can average up to €100,000 per hectare for Côtes de Provence vines within touching distance of the Côte d’Azur, but AOP vines in the Var area in general were around €60,000 per hectare.
Outside of the AOP zones, overall French vineyard prices averaged €14,500 per hectare, said Safer.
It’s worth noting that buying a vineyard is just one step in a winemaking dream that could involve significant up-front costs. Seek professional advice before making any decisions, of course.