Bordeaux vineyard prices: 2015 market review

The SAFER recently published their review of land prices in 2015. Their report included a number of observations, notably that after significant movement between 2012 and 2013 the vineyard market stabilised in 2015. The total surface area sold was 3,478 hectares, compared with 3,461 hectares in 2014 and 4,936 hectares in 2013. However, the total value of vineyard transactions fell by 20% between 2014 and 2015, from 353 million Euros to 282 million Euros, having reached 485 million Euros in 2013. According to the SAFER, this fall in the value of transactions was primarily due to a change in the compostion of the transactions, with more transactions in the less prestigious appellations.

Between 2014 and 2015 prices rose in a number of Bordeaux appellations. In the Médoc prices remained strong, underpinned by what the SAFER describes as the “safe haven” status of the region, in part thanks to the stability of the 1855 classification. in Saint-Julien and Margaux the average price per hectare rose from 1 million Euros to 1.2 million Euros  (with the best parcels fetching up to 2 million Euros per hectare) while in Pauillac prices remained stable at 2 million Euros per hectare. In Saint-Estèphe, where the average price per hectare remained at 350,000 Euros, there is still considerable price variation depending on quality and location, with prices ranging from as little as 150,000 Euros per hectare to more than 700,000 Euros per hectare for the best plots. The Haut-Médoc appellation saw an increase in average prices from 75,000 Euros to 80,000 Euros per hectare while the Médoc appellation remained stable at 45,000 Euros per hectare, although the SAFER observed that Cru Bourgeois properties achieved significantly higher prices.

On the Right Bank the most prestigious appellations remain the most sought after. In Saint-Emilion demand continued to outstrip supply leading to an increase in the average price per hectare from 220,000 Euros to 230,000 Euros. However, there is a wide variation in prices in Saint-Emilion, ranging from just under 200,000 Euros to more than 2.5 million Euros per hectare. Pomerol also saw an increase in the average price per hectare, from 1 million Euros to 1.1 million Euros, and this spilled over into the neighbouring Lalande-de-Pomerol appellation, where prices rose to an average of 200,000 Euros per hectare, a level last seen in 2006. Also on the Right Bank, Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac both saw prices rise due to a spate of recent acquisitions by Asian investors.

In the generic Bordeaux and Cotes de Bordeaux AOPs prices remained stable, at an average of 15,000 Euros per hectare for AOP Bordeaux and 18,000 Euros for AOP Cotes de Bordeaux. However, the SAFER did note stronger prices for the best parcels, with some AOP Bordeaux vines selling for as much as 27,000 Euros per hectare (against a low of 6,000 Euros per hectare).

The Bordeaux appellations that continue to suffer the most are the sweet wine AOPs, with the average price in Sauternes stuck at 35,000 Euros per hectare (it was more than 100,000 Euros per hectare in 2000) and the Right Bank sweet wine appellations (Saint-Croix-du-Mont, Loupiac, Cadillac etc) falling again, to 15,000 Euros per hectare. The only bright spot in this region is the sale of several Grand Cru Classé estates in Sauternes in the last few years (Rayne Vigneau, Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Clos Haut Peyraguey). These assets remain attractive to investors as they offer the opportunity to purchase 1855 Crand Cru Classé estates for 200,000 to 300,000 Euros per hectare, which is significantly less than a Grand Cru Classé estate would cost in the the Médoc (although the profitability will also be significantly lower).

Lastly the SAFER observed an increase in interest in the Graves region, although this has yet to translate into higher prices. In Pessac-Léognan prices remained stable, with very few transactions, after several years of significant price increases.

Bordeaux Vineyard Prices 1995 – 2015

Alexander Hall