Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to buy a vineyard....

There's an excellent article in Country Life this week about how to buy a vineyard, you can read it in full here.

They identify two types of purchase - the full time commercial venture and the hobby.

The choice between commercial and hobby winemaking boils down to how much risk you're willing to take (it's very difficult to make money from a vineyard, warns Jo Leverett of Savills), how much time you have (hobbyists can outsource virtually all production, says Andrew Thomas of Strutt & Parker), and how much money you can spend (equipment and staff costs need to be factored in, among others). It will also dictate which type of property you need to buy.

Some of you may remember that last year I was mandated to find a chateau & vineyard around Bordeaux and I wrote about the difficulty of valuing a vineyard, including this summary:

I have a very good friend who is cellar master at Polignac which is one of the leading brands of Cognac. For ten years he was also the cellar master at one of the leading Bordeaux producers in the Medoc. He tells me that while he is perfectly capable of tasting and testing the existing wine stock he would not be able to give an accurate forecast as to its worth - that's a different job entirely.

Similarly, one of the chateau's that we visited is the former home of one of the world's most famous post impressionist painters. What kind of value does this add to the property?

So, at the end of our lunch we decided that any valuation has to include a combination of balance sheet analysis, collective expertise and comparable evidence...but it's also going to include plenty of shoulder shrugging and a dash of "je ne sais quoi".

With plenty of interest from Russia and Asia as well it seems that country estates, fisheries and vineyards could retain their values as well as any other property sector over the coming years.


No comments: