Viticulture – The New Property Investment Trend

28.11.16

There’s an old anecdote about vineyards. How do you make a small fortune? Start with a large one and buy an English vineyard.

Christopher Bartlett of Stacks Property Search says that while there is more than a little truth in the statement, more people are looking to viticulture as a hobby rather than a commercial operation. “Hobby vineyards are a growing trend as young retirees look for something that will challenge them and provide an interest. The expectation is (and should be) that, certainly in the early years, there will be a cost as opposed to a return.

“While many hobby viticulturists start out by searching for an established and large vineyard, the best way to start a winemaking hobby is on a small scale.  Finding an established operation, or a property with a suitable plot of land will not be easy, but during the search and research process there’s a strong likelihood that you will learn a great deal about what’s involved, the difficulties, challenges, commitment required, and costs.

“One of the best starting points is to go and visit one of the many established English vineyards. The larger ones will generally conduct organised tours, the smaller ones almost invariably welcome visitors and willingly share information and advice. Listening to first hand experiences beats almost any online advice, but there’s plenty of the latter available too.

“When it comes to finding a property with an already established vineyard, life isn’t all that easy. Vineyard buyers are often prepared to be relatively flexible on location, so it’s difficult to know how to start a search. None of the everyday portals are sensitive enough to allow you to apply a ‘vineyard’ filter, and depending on the size of the vineyard, it may be classified as agricultural, commercial, or just plain residential.

“A more general Google search for ‘UK vineyards for sale’ will generally produce results, but don’t get too excited as many of these will be historical. Or there are some sites such as www.uklandandfarms.co.uk that focus on agricultural businesses. It’s when the buying gets tough that buying agents get the most calls of course!

“Established vineyards will have records and accounts that you can examine, but there are of course risks associated with buying an existing business. An alternative is to buy a property with a suitable plot of land and get planting! For true hobby-ists this comes with the advantage of being able to start small, with the potential to expand.

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