Although a cavernous wine cellar filled with dusty vintage bottles has long been a tell-tale signifier of wealth, it seems that the modern billionaire is taking things one step further by going straight to the source and picking up a winery of their very own. With vineyards scattered around the world there are plenty of wine-producing estates to choose from, but many investors are looking past the attractions of Argentina, Australia and even France in favour of the rolling hills of Italy; and more specifically, Tuscany.
The Italian property market has yet to make a full recovery after the Eurozone crisis, creating a market of highly attractive properties currently valued well below their deserved price. Tuscany itself appeals to international investors from a variety of backgrounds thanks to its legendary status as a centre of art, culture and romance, with the cuisine almost as celebrated as the wine.
The vineyards in this area are justifiably famous: this corner of Italy is home to over 30 DOC wines, including Chianti, and it all comes down to what the French refer to as “terroir”. The soil and weather of the region makes it the perfect place to grow some of Europe’s best wine grapes. The most popular Tuscan grape is probably the Sangiovese, although Cabernet Sauvignon and Moscatello also thrive.
Wineries as a status symbol may be enjoying a peak at present, but they’re also hardly a new trend. Two thousand years before Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt purchased their château in Provence, the leading philosophers and playwrights of Rome were keeping themselves occupied with their own private wineries. Euripides even went so far as to write a speech for one of his messengers that includes the proclamation: ‘“If you take wine away, love will die, and every other source of human joy will follow.”
Aside from the obvious benefits of not killing off love and joy, as an investment, the attraction of a winery is immediately understandable. As well as offering a potential money-spinner in terms of wine production, the growing interest in vino-tourism and prevalence of spectacular mansions sold to accompany the vineyards opens up the possibility for a whole host of additional profits, from tasting tours around the estate to renting out your house for weddings and other events. If you don’t want to produce wine yourself, selling your grapes on to a local wine producer is the easiest way to make money from your property. Eight to ten acres of good grape growing land can yield returns between 15% and 20% in the long term, and there’s the unique opportunity to negotiate a few bottles into the deal to enjoy with friends and family.
Whether you’re looking for a large commercial winery to take on and oversee from a distance, or a boutique vineyard that you can sculpt from the ground up, Engel & Völkers are well placed to offer you advice every step of the way. Our experts can help you to choose the right region, the right property, and offer excellent after-sales service to ensure that the process goes smoothly from beginning to end. Just visit our website for more details.