So what are the current real estate values in wine country? The latest information shows continued price increases across the board. Even the median home price in Sonoma County has doubled in the last five years.... Read more
Why not stock your yacht with wine from your very own vineyard estate?
Words – Joanna Della – Ragione, Show Boats International
Undulating sun-kissed hills planted with rows of lush vines yielding fruit that has the potential to make us merry; the prospect of owning a vineyard is universally romantic to those with an epicurean edge and appreciation for the finer things in life.
“There are many reasons to buy a vineyard,” says David Ashcraft, founder of Vintroux Real Estate, who has been selling vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma for 17 years. “They are usually in beautiful locations, and they epitomize a great lifestyle, something that they can share with friends and go and visit. Plus, there is huge bragging potential. On top of the property itself, you can create your own wine that you can gift to friends and associates and that can also be run as a business and yield some income.”
You can plant grapevines wherever the sun shines, but when it comes to investing, some locations are better than others.
“The safest place to invest in would be the Napa Valley – it is very secure and values hold there even if there are changes in the economy. Sonoma and the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions of France are also good options, and these days more people are looking to South America, too” says Ashcraft. “But blue chip is always going to be Napa and Sonoma.”
Once you have a vineyard, there is the potential to operate as a profitable business, but it’s a tough going enterprise that depends on a number of variables, from the quality of the fruit to the volume you produce and the hours of sun that season.
“The safest and most effective way to make money out of a vineyard is to hold it over time,” says Ashcraft.
“However, it’s very different compared to other commercial real estate. You wouldn’t get the same return as you would on an office building or apartment complex, but then you wouldn’t go to either of those places to enjoy yourself, so there’s a good trade-off.”
There is, of course, the option of getting into the wine business, growing your own grapes, making your own wine and selling it directly to consumers.
“That way you can take the entire margin, which is obviously an attractive prospect,” says Ashcraft. “But there are a lot of hoops to jump through as the wine industry is a tricky one and highly competitive. My client base is a mixture of people looking for a certain lifestyle and people within the industry who are looking to pick up additional vineyards or smaller wineries, but I definitely have more lifestyle buyers than commercial.”