The growth of the UK wine sector is translating to strong demand for land suitable for vines and wine producers are also exploring options to grow their businesses by buying or renting established vineyards.

Nick Watson, head of Strutt & Parker’s viticulture group, said the boom in UK wine is leading to premium prices being paid for land suitable for planting vines and there is no sign of this letting up.

“We continue to get enquiries from people who are keen to start a new venture – some looking for just a couple of acres so they can start winemaking as a hobby, but other operators with a strong commercial focus looking for sites of 20-30 acres or more.

“Only a small proportion of the land which comes to the open market each year is suitable for planting with vines, so most vineyard land must be proactively sought out and purchased privately. As such, any potential buyer tends to need to offer a premium to persuade a reluctant vendor to sell. This means that, while most arable land in the UK sells for between £8,000 and £10,000/acre, ground suitable for vineyard planting often sells for £15,000-25,000/acre.”

Mr Watson said the number of existing vineyards sold each year is small and again most transactions are off-market. But the best vineyards are reaching £30,000-35,000/planted acre, if well-planted, on the right site and with the right vines.

A more recent market development is evidence that there is a strong lettings market for good quality, proven and established vineyards.

“We have just completed the letting of a small, established, champagne trio vineyard in the prime of its production for approximately £1,850/acre. Demand was strong and the successful applicant is an established producer with a great reputation. We believe this is the first market letting of an established and productive vineyard.”

This story was taken from the latest issue of Vineyard. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports for winemakers and growers in Great Britain, read our latest issue here and subscribe here