This post is an effort to look at some of the main questions that arise when buying a Bordeaux vineyard.
The vineyard lifestyle is one of the most enviable qualities of life available today. There are a wide range of vineyards for sale in Bordeaux in fact the majority are made up of vineyards that are not the famous household names. A Bordeaux vineyard can be purchased for under a million Euros and of course the prices can rise to levels that position Bordeaux vineyards as some of the most exclusive and expensive real estate in the world today.
But the purchase of a vineyard is nothing like the purchase of a house. Credible and expert advice is essential – it can make all the difference between an expensive mistake and a well informed decision that leads to fulfilling a dream vineyard lifestyle.
Over the 20+ years we have been representing clients in the Bordeaux region we have been asked a lot of questions, however there are some core questions that are common to many potential vineyard buyers. Often those interested in Bordeaux vineyards start with trying to understand the size of the market and more general questions that then lead to more detailed questions. In the same way we will follow this format.
What is the size of the Bordeaux vineyards area? The area defined as AOC Bordeaux is approximately 110,000 hectares. (this is in contrast to Burgundy which is only 28,530 hectares)
How many Appellations are there in AOC Bordeaux? There are 57 Appellations across the region.
What is the difference between the Bordeaux Right Bank and the Bordeaux Left Bank? Topographically the Left Bank is much flatter and closer to the Atlantic. It is predominantly associated with the Medoc region although it also includes the Sauternes and the Graves amongst others. The Medoc is home to many of the Bordeaux greats often referred to as “First Growths” such as Margaux, Lafite Rothschild, Latour and Mouton Rothschild. The Right Bank is the area to the east of the Garonne River (right hand side when looking at a map) and is predominantly made up of the Entre-deux-Mers. Its most famous name however is St Emilion closely followed by Pomerol. The region has stunning countryside dotted with bastide villages and numerous excellent eateries making it a lovely place to live.
What is the Entre-deux-Mers? It is both an Appellation and a region. It is named Entre-deux-Mers because it lies between two tidal rivers, the Dordogne River to the north and the Garonne to the south, hence the reference to “mers” meaning seas. However, within the region named Entre-deux-Mers there is the Appellation of the same name. This is significantly smaller (see blog post Bordeaux Vineyards at a Glance) and is solely for white wines.
The questions continue…..
How do Vineyard accounts work?
How do I test the soils? What is “terroir?”
Is stock included in the purchase price?
Why are plant densities different even on the same vineyard?
Why are plant varieties different in different regions and sub regions?
What are the risks when buying a vineyard?
Can I lose AOC status for my vineyard
How do I get St Emilion Grand Cru status
Why are there maximum harvest volumes imposed upon different AOCs?
Is it illegal to irrigate on AOC Bordeaux Vineyards?
Do I need a farming license?
Do I need insurance?
How do I set up a new company to hold the vineyard assets?
How does vineyard due diligence work? And who will do it for me?
How does a vineyard purchase work?
Can I get vineyard financing?
What European grants are available for Vineyards in France?
How are vineyards taxed?
Who will manage and operate my vineyard?
This gives a snap shot of the kinds of questions we navigate our clients through. There is of course much more to learn and nothing beats actually making a visit to the region to complete the education process. If you want to read some of the answers to these questions we invite you to down load our “essential tips” booklet from the blog page margin. Alternatively write directly with your questions to Michael@MaxwellStorrieBaynes.com.
Written by Michael Baynes