With an ever-growing demand for eaux-de-vie, it should come as no surprise that the cost of a hectare of vineyard in the region of Cognac continues to grow.
Prices are up 14 per cent in the Charente, and 11 per cent in the Charente Maritime, bringing the prices to an all time high. On average, a hectare of prime Grande Champagne vines now costs around 45,000 euros, all thanks to the increase in cognac exported over the past 12 months. Last year there were 2,464 billion euros of sales, which equates to 166.3 million bottles (more in-depth sales figures can be discovered here).
Thanks to the rapidly increasing market, especially in the more expensive and older cognacs, the cognac houses are securing their supplies of raw eaux-de-vie, and this in turn pushes up the prices of the land and vines themselves.
And even though DRAFF (Direction Régionale de l’Aimentation, de l’Agriculture et de la Forêt de Poitou-Charentes) says that the best vines are those that are under twenty years of age, even the older vineyards are commanding high prices. However, they are warning that the high prices are limiting newcomers to the industry with a chance of jumping on the cognac train. And with the price of the best vines in Grande Champagne now commanding up to 58,000 euros for the best plots, you can understand why.
However, no-one can complain about the popularity of cognac, and all the good that this brings to the local community and the industry in general. According to Philippe Boujut, a winemaker from St Preuil, a number of smaller, twenty to thirty acre vineyards in Grande Champagne have recently changed hands. And at these prices, who can really blame the owners for cashing in.
Let’s hope that the global desire for cognac continues, and that the powers that be ensure that the prices of these vines don’t spiral out of control.