Heard it on the grapevine


Huge vineyard sale in Bordeaux shouldn’t set a trend, says expert

There has been a new record for Bordeaux vineyard land prices with the recent €18 million purchase of Ch�teau Les Carmes-Haut-Brion.

Patrice Pichet, the French real estate magnate, splashed out the eye-watering sum for the estate, which produces 20,000 cases of red wine annually, boasts nearly 12 acres of vineyards in Pressac-L�ognan, a seven-acre park and a castle dating back to the 19th century.

The purchase has raised some eyebrows, but Herv� Olivier, of SAFER (Soci�t� d’Amenag�ment Foncier et d’Establissement Rural – www.safer.fr), believes that this is more of a one-off than the start of a new trend in rocketing vineyard prices. He told us: “Geography was certainly a factor [in the high price]. The property is situated at the heart of Bordeaux and has some very prestigious wine-producing neighbours, who were also interested, which contributed in pushing the price up.

“It is true that €18 million is a very high price to pay for a vineyard, especially as this one is not particularly well known. The sale price equates to around €3 million per hectare, so the new owner is likely to have to wait 20 years before seeing a return on their investment.“

Pointing out that, in AOC Pressac-L�ognan, typical vineyard prices are between €300,000 and €500,000 per hectare, Herv� continues: “This was a particularly unusual sale. I would be very surprised if we woke up tomorrow morning to find that prices had gone up to €4 million per hectare as a result of this sale!”

Meanwhile, wine and spirits trade show Vinexpo (www.vinexpo.com) says France is the world’s leading wine producer again, having lost the top spot to Italy in 2009. According to the statistics, from International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR), France produced 419 million cases of wine last year.

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