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How to buy a vineyard -

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Last summer, Napoleon’s favourite Burgundian vineyard at Château de Gevrey-Chambertin was bought – along with its medieval residence – by Louis Ng, executive of a Macau casino empire, for a reported $10m. At double the appraisal value, it’s still only the price of a large apartment in, say, London’s Knightsbridge or Upper East Side Manhattan; an apartment likely to have a balcony in lieu of five acres of premier cru and grand cru vines seeking Unesco World Heritage Site status.

Ng is acknowledged as a connoisseur of wine, but the Burgundians were up in arms, proclaiming a desecration of the long-evolved patrimoine to the temporary whims of the super-rich. In reality, the reception of international investors is very variable. In Bordeaux – the world’s largest region for quality wine production – Asian buyers are seen as the salvation of an industry badly affected by the recession and a slump in prices, especially at the inferior end of supérieur.

“Bordeaux is quite different to Burgundy: it’s been international for at least 700 years,” says Michael Baynes of Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes, a real estate agent based in Bordeaux. The firm is a member of Christie’s consortium of established affiliates that collaborate to offer advice and enablement services. There are other established companies, such as Vignobles Investissement of Montpellier and the American Vineyard Agent.

Christie’s say the benefit of their affiliate network lies in providing a complete service to navigate the often bewildering legalities of ownership (in France the title documents, or relevé par cellaire – for vineyards are detailed and require investigation – and the quasi-governmental agency Société d’aménagement foncier et d’établissement rural (Safer), has a further role in checking purchases: some aspects are mandatory, others optional). Also offered is expertise in the responsibilities of production, fine and rare wine prices, negotiating with a period of exclusivity, and the local dynamics of distribution.

(Financial Times specifically asks that I not merely cut and paste but provide a link:  Source: )

So... You like Burgundy? I've never tried it.

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