Market Comment on Vineyard Homes from Rory Ramsden, Home Hunts Consultant in Aquitaine:
We had a tremendous summer in Bordeaux and so the vendange (grape harvest) may be a week or two earlier than normal if the sun continues to shine. 2015 was probably the best year for a generation, and 2016 is likely to be a good year too. Some early ripening vineyards, such as in Pessac-Léognan, will start their whites early in September but expect the dry whites to mostly come in during mid-September and the reds, for the most part, in the first half of October.
Brexit may have put a temporary crimp in the exchange rate (the pound is down to €1.16 from a high of €1.27 just before the vote) but that does not mean that British interest in buying a French vineyard is down. Far from it! Buyers are biding their time and while doing so are making extra sure that their target vineyard really does meet all of their requirements.
The quality of the land is key. While institutional investors may be the only ones who can afford to buy a dreamy chateau in the Medoc with up to 100ha of vines, others are considering alternative appellations to Bordeaux.
Buzet, for instance: this AOC appellation is in the south of the Lot et Garonne on the southern escarpment of the Garonne river. Bounded by the Garonne river to the north and east, and the Landes forest to the west, this appellation extends over 1,800 hectares.
Temperature variations are more marked than further west. There is less rainfall than on the Aquitaine coast and summers are hot with almost a guarantee of sunshine. This ensures that the grapes are ripe at harvest time (one of the main criteria of this AOC). Spring is rainier and winters are colder than further west.
The vineyards are on the southern escarpment of the Garonne river. The terroir is rich in minerals, gravel and made of limestone and clay. The red or rosé grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec…or cot, to give its local name. The few white wines produced are Sauvignon, Semillon and Muscadelle. The wine is produced at low temperature and is aged on the lees.
The AOC Buzet, although small in size, produces quality wines. The reds (95% of production) are meaty and silky. Its power and depth compares well with certain AOC Bordeaux wines. I particularly like the rosé they produce which almost as pale as one from Provence and just as drinkable. Consumers are looking for something that makes their purchase different. More interesting, more individual and even hand-crafted.
While a St. Emilion Grand Cru may be a safe investment, buying in a smaller, less well-known appellation could give you the ‘difference’ that your marketing needs when you want to appeal to young consumers with a disposable income.
And you are likely to be able to buy more vineyard for your money… leaving more to spend on the vineyard home renovation of your dreams!
Currently on the Market:
St Emilion: €3,980,000
A beautiful 19th century property retaining many original features such as fireplaces, carved ceilings, and painted cement tiles. The rooms are bright and spacious: a living room, a dining room with fireplaces, five bedrooms, a bathroom and a shower room. Outside is a beautiful summer terrace opening out on the park.
Vineyard appellation Saint-Emilion Grand Cru with an area seven hectares, of which 6.5 hectares are in production. Grape varieties: 70 percent merlot and 30 percent cabernet franc – the average age is 30 to 35 years on a clay soil, gravel and sandy gravel. The density is 5,500 vines per hectare, the vineyard is in good condition and well maintained.
Outstanding Gascony Château set on a wine-making estate of 120 acres on the edge of the Armagnac Region. The estate incorporates eight bedrooms in the Château, guest house facilities and cottages, a swimming pool, 120 acres of surrounding countryside, and vineyards producing an award-winning Buzet Appellation wine.
For more information, go on-line at: www.home-hunts.com