The SAFER recently published its annual report on the Bordeaux vineyard market in 2011. The average price paid for one hectare of vines across the entire Bordeaux region in 2011 was 76,000 Euros, a rise of almost 10% from the average of 69,200 Euros paid in 2010. However, in a region as large and diverse as Bordeaux, this figure does not tell the full story. While the price of “generic” AOC Bordeaux vineyards (accounting for almost 50% of the total area) fell by 1,000 Euros to 15,000 Euros per hectare, the average price of a hectare of vines in Pauillac shot up by 65% to 1,650,000 Euros, while in Pessac-Léognan the average price jumped nearly 100%, from 170,000 to 330,000 Euros per hectare. It should be noted that these figures are based on a very small number of transactions, particularly in the case of Pauillac, where the top Cru Classé estates are keen to snap up any land that becomes available, as evidenced by Chateau Latour’s purchase of the four hectares of Chateau La Bécasse. Among the Right Bank appellations of Pomerol, Lalande-de-Pomerol, Saint-Emilion and its satellites prices remained flat, although Fronsac once again saw a small fall in value, from 30,000 Euros per hectare in 2010 to 28,000 Euros per hectare in 2011.
It is also informative to look at the range of prices paid within a given sector. The lowest price per hectare paid in Pauillac in 2011 was 1,200,000 Euros while the highest price was 2,000,000 Euros. In Saint-Estephe, where the average price has remained relatively stable in recent years, prices ranged from just 110,000 Euros per hectare to five times that much, at 550,000 Euros per hectare. In Saint-Emilion a well established “hierarchy” of terroir might account for the ten fold difference in price between the lowest and highest priced plots, which changed hands for 100,000 and 1,000,000 respectively in 2011. Once again it was Pomerol that achieved the highest price per hectare in the whole of Bordeaux, at 2,350,000 Euros. At the other end of the spectrum some AOC Bordeaux vineyards changed hands for as little as 7,000 Euros per hectare.
For the moment at least, the well publicised influx of Chinese buyers has had little noticeable impact on vineyard prices. Values at the lower end continue to be adversely affected by an imbalance of supply and demand and the economic difficulties experienced by producers in these appellations, while the value of vineyards in the top appellations is being driven more by scarcity of supply and, in particular, by strong demand from local buyers.