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Published:  23 July, 2008

A study into French vineyard transactions by has highlighted the most fashionable terroirs and the generic appellations that are struggling. While the land market closely follows the wine market, it is also closely linked to real-estate prices, which can result in some regions being legitimately overpriced'. In Bordeaux, prices for the generic AOC and Ctes vineyards continue to fall, and even those for the best-known communes are slipping, while a few appellations, especially St Emilion and its satellites, fuel the market. In Burgundy, prices are slightly down, but very few parcels are coming on to the market. In Beaujolais, prices are also down, with the exception of those for the 10 Crus, but much more land is being offered for sale. In the Loire, prices for Muscadet and Gros Plant vineyards are crumbling, while those for small, trendy appellations such as Chinon, St Nicolas de Bourgeuil and Saumur-Champigny remain strong, benefiting from their proximity to Paris. The prices of vines in the Ctes du Rhne are holding firm, thanks to the shortage of properties for sale and the strong performance of the appellation as a whole. The most notable exception is Chteauneuf-du-Pape, which registers a small fall over the last year, having risen 100% between 1998 and 2002. In the Languedoc, the large generic appellations of Corbires and Minervois are sharply down in value (-5% to -10% since 2000). By contrast, Coteaux du Languedoc, Crus such as La Clape, La Livinire and Pic-St-Loup, and fashionable coastal zones such as Montpellier, continue to rise (+10 to +20% since 2000). Prices for Vin de Pays land are still sliding. In Provence the market remains buoyant, benefiting from both real-estate pressure and strong sales of ros wines. According to Vineatransaction, most buyers are still French, but the market is increasingly international. Investors are attracted by the number of properties for sale, low prices and low interest rates, while the poor performance of the stock market makes vineyards seem more worthwhile. Vineatransaction cites L'Expansion (July/August 2003) as saying: In 2002, while the Stock Exchange collapsed by 30%, the prices of AOC vineyards increased by 5.6% - a rise similar to the one registered in 2001, which followed the price upsurge of 2000 (+13.3%). Between 1991 and 2002, vines increased in value by an average of 42%.' The downside remains a very long profitability cycle (20 to 25 years), though even this seems more tolerable given the constantly rising real-estate index (+4% to +20% annual growth over the last 15 years).