Allegrini 2018

The “Vigneto Italia” is a boom. Dizzying prices for vineyards in the most important territories

Estimates by WineNews: 1.2 million euros per hectare for Barolo, up to 900,000 for Brunello, Valpolicella, Prosecco and more
The vineyards of Michele Chiarlo in the Cerequio, one of the most important crus of Barolo

Among the success of wines on the world markets, business investments and capital of the world finance that move and look for “goods” on which to stay safe, between passion for a product that is connected to the territory (but also the strength of some brands and labels), its strong point and the strength of a sector that, despite many critics, is still growing, but also the lists of inaccessible vineyards that do not allow to grow in size, are increasing, in some cases dramatically, the prices of vineyards in the most important designations of the Belpaese.
This is the trend that has been going on for several years and confirmed by the survey by WineNews, which has collected the opinions of entrepreneurs, brokers and retailers, in order to draw up estimates that must be considered, apart from many factors that affect the real value of the hectares, at the time of the actual negotiations (exposure, age and state of the vineyards, whether or not they are in subareas and historicized cru, the presence of real estate, the proximity with land already owned by the buyer and so on).

From the quotations collected, Barolo is at the top, the “king” of Italian wines, even in the values of the land, now in the most prestigious territories of the world, such as Burgundy or Bordeaux. In the Langhe Unesco heritage, one hectare the DOCG of the most important Piedmontese red wine counts 1.2 million euro per hectare, however, in the most important crus (in one of the very few denominations of Italy to have completed a real and own zonation) it reaches peaks of 2.5 million euros per hectare. The same dynamics followed by Barbaresco, with lower prices, however, around 600,000 euros per hectare, estimates that, even in this case, rises a lot if you focus on cru. Another territory with stellar quotations is the Brunello di Montalcino, where the revaluation in little more than 50 years of life of the denomination (the DOC dates back to 1966) has been over 4,500%, with values ranging between 750,000 and 900,000 euros per hectare, with peaks that reach the million in the top vineyards of the hill of Montalcino.
There are also significant figures in Valpolicella, the traditional area, where Amarone is produced, with vineyards ranging from 450,000 to 550,000, with peaks of up to 600,000 euros.
Still, we start from at least 500,000 euros per hectare in South Tyrol, a territory of excellence especially for the production of white wine, where the prices, which are close to 1 million euros in the most important micro areas, also depends on the specific conditions of planting, the terraces and, of course, the lack of hectares on the market.
On the other hand, it fluctuates from 400,000 to 500,000 euros per hectare in Bolgheri, one of the most performing areas of Italian wine, where there has been great growth in the markets and, at the same time, in terms of land values. Even more rapid has been that of Prosecco, king of Italian bubbles and a few years also towing the export of wine from the Belpaese. If in the DOCG of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore goes from 400,000 to 450,000 euros per hectare, with peaks of over 1 million euro on the hill of Cartizze (where, however, there is substantially nothing on the market), in the much larger Doc Prosecco, between Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, the value of one hectare is around 200,000 euros.
Speaking about sparkling wines, in Franciacorta, the value of one hectare planted with vines is around 250,000 euros, reaching 300,000 for the most prized vineyards.
Prices are similar to those of Lugana, a historical territory that has only recently gained media attention, even after significant investments by many important companies in Veneto and beyond, which has seen the value of its vineyards rise to 250,000 euros per hectare.
Back in Tuscany, it is about 170,000 euros for a vineyard registered in Chianti Classico, one of the most beautiful territories of Italian wine (between Siena and Florence), where the best vineyards and subzones reach 200,000 euros.
The price of a hectare planted with Chianti, the largest denomination in the region and one of the most famous brands in the world, is more affordable, while in Montepulciano, the pearl of the Renaissance, a hectare planted with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano ranges between 120,000 and 150,000 euros per hectare.
Finally, the prices of two Italian wine boutique territories are more affordable, in Montefalco, in the heart of Umbria, one hectare in Sagrantino di Montefalco is around 80,000 euros per hectare, the same quotation of one hectare planted on Etna, in Sicily, where for the most valuable vineyards of the “volcano” you get even 100,000 euros per hectare.
Estimates, as said, which give, however, the idea of the importance of the wine sector, because the contribution of the wine sector to the national economy is not only given by the turnover that this creates with the sale of bottles on domestic and international markets, but also by the real estate aspect, in fact, Italian vineyards are particularly sought after by national and international investors, and this has helped to maintain their high value over the years, unlike what happened to the land for other crops.
One hectare of vineyard in Italy is sold at an average of 30,000 euros, a particularly high price if you consider that the average price per hectare of land with another vocation is less than 20,000 euros (data from Inea - National Institute of Agricultural Economics).

However, in order to have reasonable prospects of a return on this type of investment, which is generally known to be long-term, it is necessary to be able to move with caution and knowledge of the facts in the situations of the various territories.
Establishing the real value of a vineyard for investment purposes is a complex operation, where not only the agronomic variables are involved, but also, as mentioned, the added value linked to the fame of the territory, the denomination and the tradition of the type produced and the other tangible and intangible assets that characterize the company and the territory.
Among these, the “brand” is of fundamental importance (both corporate and territorial), which gathers essential elements such as identity, personality, design culture, innovative capacity, ecological awareness, historicity, and know-how, which constitute the necessary surplus in the modern economies of brand equity.
In this sense, the “turnkey” quotations per hectare have an indicative value, taking into account that the vineyard with the Denominations are substantially sealed and therefore the number of hectares cannot grow further, except with normative changes. Another aspect to consider is that sometimes, although rarely, investments follow a logic more linked to international finance than to real business projects.

Buying a winery and knowing how to manage it are two very different things, as those investors who in the mid-nineties of the twentieth century had learned since they thought to get great profits from their products without having any idea of the difficulties they would face. This element seems to have been adequately received, given that transfers of ownership between wineries are increasingly the prerogative of entrepreneurs already present in the world of wine, although, of course, there are exceptions.
What emerges, however, is the considerable revaluation of vineyards in the most important territories, but looking only at the ranking that emerges from the analysis WineNews would not catch, however, the true meaning of these values, beyond the comforting widespread growth, obviously almost taken for granted, even considering the incidence of the cost of living and the introduction of the Euro.
Fifty years ago the state of Italian wine was very different from the current one and its final turning point has occurred in more recent times. If we think of the fact that there were no planting rights and that the historicization of almost all these appellations was substantially “weak”, with the exception of Barolo and Barbaresco and Chianti Classico (which had to deal with a series of critical issues that over time have not allowed a more important capitalization of a historical name and well known even outside of Italy), with unknown Brunello, and Amarone della Valpolicella more or less under the same conditions.

The numbers of the WineNews analysis should therefore be read differently, in the sense that the most historic denominations have been able to regain a prominent position gradually over time, playing on their previous added value, while in the cases of Brunello di Montalcino and Amarone della Valpolicella the process of enhancement, to be placed in the second half of the nineties of the last century, has been more concentrated over time and of more macroscopic dimensions even if soaked from the beginning by a concrete historical substrate.
However, one thing is clear, these denominations that have been able, albeit with different events, to enhance their historical heritage that resided in their vineyards and that has ended up emerging, in the case of the most recent enhancements, alongside the successes of sales. Other appellations have seen significant increases in value but in the very recent past.
It is, therefore, a process of valorization with a clear lack of homogeneity since it has involved different and varied territories and where the historical events of the world of Italian wine have profoundly marked this process, amplifying the valorization of one area rather than another. This trend, however, has generated important values, which underline a remarkable growth rate, confirming the primary role of “Vigneto Italia” as a great wine.

Since the entry into force on November 1, 1966 of the regulations of the first four Italian DOCs, the designations which, apart from the always open debates and with the “imperfections” that continue to persist, in fact, drew the Italian oenological geography, giving, in the first instance, to the Consortia for the protection of the possibility of establishing the classification of Italian wines.
Focus - Estimates of vineyards in the “most in” areas of Italy by www.winenews.it
South Tyrol: the minimum threshold is permanently 500,000 euros per hectare (particular planting conditions, terraces, scarcity of vineyards on the market), with peaks of up to 1 million;
Amarone della Valpolicella: in Valpolicella Classica, quotations go from 450,000 to 550,000 euros per hectare;
Prosecco (in the territories of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene): between 400,000 and 450,000 euros per hectare, down to 200,000 euros in the Prosecco DOC area; Cartizze, down to 1 million euros per hectare;
Franciacorta: one hectare, on average, is worth around 250,000 euros, with peaks of 300,000 for the most prized vineyards;

Barolo: under 1,200,000 euros per hectare you buy nothing and the most important crus go well beyond 2.5 million per hectare, in the temples of the king of wines;

Barbaresco: under 600,000 euros per hectare is not purchased, with the most important crus that exceed this figure, and there is a great shortage of vineyards on the market;

Brunello di Montalcino: 750,000 euros per hectare, with peaks of almost 1 million, for the top vineyards of the Montalcino hill;

Bolgheri: 400,000 euros per hectare, with peaks of 500,000 euros, for one of the most performing territories in Italy of wine;

Chianti Classico: one hectare is about 170,000 euros, with peaks up to 200,000, in one of the most beautiful territories in Italy;

Chianti: one hectare is estimated at 70/90,000 euros in the territory of the most famous Italian wine in the world;

Nobile di Montepulciano: between 120,000 and 150,000 euros per hectare in the cradle of the Renaissance;

Etna: 80,000 euros per hectare, with peaks at 100,000 euros in the most valuable wine-growing areas of the “volcano”;

Lugana: one hectare is estimated at 250,000 in one of the emerging territories, in recent years, in the prices of vineyards;

Sagrantino di Montefalco: 80,000 euros per hectare for the vineyards of the famous red wine of Montefalco

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