A Checklist: How to buy a Cognac vineyard?

It’s the thing you always wanted to do: Buy a wineyard in France. The dream of owning you own little wine production. And as Cognac is made from grapes – of course you would acquire your vineyard in Charente. But, “attention”: it is a very specialized investment.

young vineyard in Cognac

As Cognac Expert reported, the prices of the hectares are quite high – perhaps it does not have to be a vineyard in the Grande Champagne area. See the article about vineyard prices, here.

Before you buy, a checklist with very important questions:

1. Do I want to craft my own Cognac, Pineau or Vin de Pays?
Answer: If yes, you need a master plan. You could do the whole process of wine growing to marketing your bottles.
2. Do I want to sell my grapes directly?
Answer: If yes, it would be a nice job – concentrating on the wine culture.
3. Do I want to outsource distilling my grapes and then sell it to trading houses?
Answer: If yes, that would make you a part of the game ‘cognacais’!
4. Do I want to sell home-distilled eaux-de-vie to a cooperative or a trading house?
Answer: You have to be really good to do this.

If you need to know more about how the Cognac business in Charente works, with its trading houses, winegrowers and producers, see this article.

The Grapes

Well, in Charente you do not have much of a choice regarding grape varieties. It’s Colombard, Folle Blanche and Ugni Blanc. If you want to learn more about these grapes, read our article about the topic, here.

Vineyard Grapes Ugni Blanc

The more valuable the grape, the better is the value of the vineyard. That is critical for evaluating a vineyard for purchase. How is the quality and age of the grapes?

The Appellation

The geographic location in Charente is critical, also because you want to have the best soil. There are 6 different zones, with very different soil characteristics. The ‘best’ terroir would be Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne – also called Fine Champagne.

Leave vineyard Charente

The grapes you produce in the Grande Champagne will always be more valuable than grapes you grow in the Bons Bois area. Read more about the different growing areas in cognac country Charente, here.

Before you buy

Okay, let’s say you made your choice and picked a nice wineyard, somewhere in the Cognac region, and you are really interested in purchasing the property.

Here comes an important checklist:

  • Any survey of the property?
  • You need a soils analysis! Is it more sand, chalk? Are there lime stones?
  • Do not forget: Cognac vineyards have to suffer – that makes the best wine.
  • You also need a water analysis for testing minerals, bacteria and chemicals
  • You will not irrigate, so you do not need water basically
  • Is there a detailed plan of the wine zones?
    • which grape variety, by block
    • the age of the vines (very important)
    • the root stock that each variety is planted on
    • number of vines
    • production per acre (or hectare)
    • is there already a buyer for the grapes, where are the prices?
    • any aggressors, like butterflies or similar? Diseases?
    • what kind of equipment is included in the acquisition?
    • is there an ongoing, output contract for selling the grapes or do you have any other obligations?

You should definitely be consulted by viticulturalists. It is critical to have professional help in order to analyze the property.

What budget do I need to purchase a vineyard?

Let’s say you get 30 hecates of fine Cognac vineyard, perhaps with a house in the middle of it. This will cost you quite some money and starts at about 1.3 million euros.

For a list of price per hectare in Cognac and France, see here.

Sources: www.bergmanvineyards.com

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