|This beautiful vineyard is valued at €10,000 per hectare.|
Over the last few weeks I have been contemplating the question whether to buy a vineyard estate. I have been working in the wine trade/business for over 25 years in all aspects from restaurants, wine bars, retail, fine wine mail order, distribution, production and wine tourism. I have supplied wine to Buckingham Palace on numerous occasions as well as supplying wine to some of the wealthiest families in the World.
I have also sold large volumes of wine to UK supermarkets at remarkably value prices.
Over the years I have lectured at the Royal Agricultural College in England (to MBA students) as well as serving as a Judge at the International Wine Challenge and being quoted in various wine publications such as Decanter, Wine Magazine, The Drinks Business and Harpers. I can not remember the amount of times I have explained fermentation, oak barrels, grape varieties, soils, climates, terroir, malo lactic fermentation, as well as botrytis, ice wine and secondary fermentation. I actually really love my job.
BUT it is one thing to talk about it, and it is another to actually do it!
So as I am now in my 44th year, when by all accounts I should be having a mid life crisis, I am now pondering the decision to invest in vineyards to create my own wines and establish a long term quality reputation. Something that my children (aged 10 and 12) will be proud of. Something that will last longer than a piece of paper, a quote or a tweet.
Last week I was offered 18 hectares of very good (ie well tended and well trained) vines in the south of France. The vines are planted at c 6-7000 vines per hectare. The average age of the vines is 25 years old. The grape varieties are Carignan (50%), Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre. The potential is to make various styles of wine:
1. A light Rose, that will sell quickly (and generate quick cashflow).
2. A spicy fruity red wine that has hints of wild thyme, wild rosemary and the garrigue.
3. A small batch of highly selected dark (mainly Syrah) oak aged wine that will age for 20-30 years.
The vineyards would be sold without any winemaking equipment (as the grapes have previously been sold to a Cave CoOperative). So there would need to be some serious investment in stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. But at least that is a clean sheet.
This could all be a complete dream, but it will be fun to see it all through. I will make clearer financial plans over the next few weeks to see whether this can be reality. Everyone should have dreams.
I will also try and grab hold of people who have done this in the last ten years(and who's wine I genuinely like!!)....people like Catherine Wallace at Domaine Combebelle, Katie Jones at Domaine Jones, John Bojanowski at Clos du Gravillas and James Kinglake at Domaine Begude.
|This prime land in Saint Emilion is valued at €2 million per hectare.|