Bordeaux wine lovers’ new trend: Hobby vineyards

Canny entrepreneurs in Bordeaux have begun tapping into a niche-but-growing market for wealthy wine lovers looking to live the dream in France, according to a leading estate agency in the region.

A rising number of ‘hobby vineyards’ have been coming onto the French wine property market, targeting wealthy enthusiasts looking for a lifestyle change, according to the Vineyards-Bordeaux agency. While the wine lover’s dream of owning a vineyard is hardly new, more entrepreneurs are renovating properties with a view to selling them for up to several million euros to wealthy collectors.

According to the news of Chris Mercer on Decanter, ‘Hobby vineyards have always been led from the demand side, but now it’s from the supply side,’ said Michael Baynes, executive partner and co-manager of Vineyards-Bordeaux, which is affiliated to the real estate division of Christie’s.

A hobby vineyard estate in the Bordeaux area would typically start at around three hectares of vines, according to Vineyards-Bordeaux. Prospective buyers are passionate about fine wine and they care about finding parcels of quality terroir, particularly in less prestigious appellations, but they are ‘less sensitive to profitability’, Baynes said. In general, it’s ‘people who have a lot of money who want to make a super little wine for their own tastes’. Some buyers are also interested in distributing a proportion of their wines to select venues. Others might sign a deal with a local cooperative to outsource the winemaking.