The SAFER Aquitaine Atlantique recently published its annual report on the vineyard market in Bordeaux. They registered a total of 788 transactions in 2014, a decrease of 4% on 2013, with 3166 hectares changing hands (down 36%) for a total value of 320 million Euros (down 34%). According to the SAFER the significant reduction in the last two figures resulted from two phenomena: the poor 2013 harvest, which lead to low stock levels and a consequent loss of confidence that affected the number of sales between local winemakers, and a significant slowdown in the number of Asian buyers, which they attributed to buyers being “scalded by the experience of their predecessors who had discovered the inherent complexity of running a vineyard property”.
Looking at the individual appellations there was very little movement in average prices over the year although some appellations experienced a widening of the gap between the lowest and highest prices paid. This was the case for AOC Bordeaux vineyards: the average price remained at €15,000 per hectare for the fourth year running but some vineyards sold for as much as €25,000 per hectare while others changed hands for as little as €7,000 per hectare. There was a similar story in the Cotes de Bordeaux appellations, with Cotes de Bourg achieving the highest average price per hectare of €22,000, while in Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux prices ranged from €10,000 to €28,000 per hectare.
In the communal appellations of the Medoc the market remains largely closed to outside investors, according to the SAFER. In Pauillac prices have stabilized around a ceiling of approximately €2,000,000 per hectare and in Margaux and Saint-Julien at around €1,200,000 per hectare. However, the SAFER noted that if any exceptional parcels were to come onto the market in either of these appellations they would most probably attract prices similar to those achieved in Pauillac. Given the greater variability in the quality of the terroir in Saint-Estèphe the average price of €350,000 per hectare is less meaningful according to the SAFER, with prices ranging from €150,000 to €200,000 per hectare for parcels situated on poorer quality soils and from €500,000 to €600,000 per hectare for parcels situated on the best gravel hilltops. Prices remain strong for vineyards in the Medoc and Haut-Medoc AOCs due to the reputation of these appellations, particularly in export markets. Prices have also remained stable in Moulis and Listrac although there is considerable variation according to the quality of the terroir and the reputation of the estate.
In Pessac-Leognan the market appears to have stabilized after a period of significant price increases, with very few transactions registered in 2014. In Graves the SAFER noted renewed interest over the last twelve to eighteen months although this has yet to translate into price increases.
On the Right Bank Pomerol saw a further increase in the average price per hectare, from €900,000 to €1,000,000, with some parcels changing hands for as much as €4,400,000 per hectare. Although the average price in Saint-Emilion crept up from €200,000 to €220,000 per hectare there are significant variations according to vineyard location, with prices ranging from €170,000 to more than €2,000,000 per hectare.
The largest falls in average prices were recorded in the sweet wine appellations, with the right bank AOCs falling by 6% and Sauternes falling by 30% to an average of €35,000 per hectare.