“From €100,000 to €600,000 per hectare”
Adam Dakin worked for a long time in the Bordeaux wine trade and for the last twenty years has specialised in the transaction of wine estates in Provence, Languedoc, the South West and the Rhône Valley. He works with Catherine Ott.
Have you noticed a change in the market over the last two years?
A.D.: The market has indeed changed. Before Covid, one third of the clientele was foreign, one third was made up of French “neophytes” and one third came from the wine industry (Castel, Grand Chais de France, Marcel Guigal, Maison Chapoutier…). Since Covid, I have no more foreigners because of travel restrictions. As for the négociants, those who were only involved in the hotel and restaurant business have suffered considerably, so this clientele has been less active. The market was therefore driven by the French, the wealthy and the entrepreneurs who invest in the context of “re-employment” (when they resell their company, they have two years to re-use this capital up to a level of 60%) in order to avoid certain taxes linked to capital gains. For these people, the agricultural sector has become a favourite. Several transactions are underway, with substantial budgets of more than 10 million euros. We are in a rather rare phase where demand and supply are fairly balanced, allowing transactions to be carried out successfully.
What are the most active areas and average prices?
A.D.: I notice that given the average profile of current buyers, the lowest price is not an argument. Many clients are attracted by Provence, where prices are 100,000 euros per hectare on average, outside the coastal zone (reaching up to 250 to 300,000 euros in Bandol). Clients often already have a network of contacts and the property value is reassuring. This is the most dynamic area as far as I am concerned. The Rhone Valley is also active, but it is clear that transactions are variable. Côte-Rôtie has only 130 hectares, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, prices go up to 600,000 €/ha, or 300,000 in Gigondas, which is obviously quite different from Languedoc Roussillon where transactions are generally between 1 and 4 million euros. In terms of financing, the banks are quite open, but only up to 20-30% of the overall requirement, not more.
Do some clients throw in the towel quickly after a purchase?
A.D.: There may be a divorce that causes a resale, but overall the cycle is more like ten to fifteen years. An entrepreneur sells his company at the age of 55, opens a wonderful new chapter in his life in wine, and if there is no family takeover, he sells again at the age of 70. More precisely, marketing is often the stumbling block, especially internationally where competition is tough.
You have been in this business for 22 years, what is your secret?
A.D.: If there is one point I insist on, it is confidentiality. Everything stays in-house with our clients, unless they decide to do otherwise.
Interview by Anne Florin