Now is the Time To Buy Prime Vineyard Land…It’s a Bargain
Say you are 30 years old and you, unlike so many your age, are thinking about your future and thinking about securing your financial future. Here is how you do it: Do whatever it takes, find partners, find the funding, and buy a few acres of Napa Valley, Russian River Valley or Willamette Valley vineyard land….the really good terroir. In 30 years, you will be able to sell this land for oodles and oodles more than you bought it.
The swiftness with which technology is changing our lives and changing how we work, live, communicate, play, love, and learn is so great that it seems nearly impossible to make any assumptions or predictions about anything more than 10 years out.
Homes are being 3D printed. The chips at the heart of everything are getting smaller and smaller and more and more efficient. In not too long a time, what we can currently do with our smartphone will be able to be done with a small chip implanted in the base of our neck. Heart and lung disease, cancers and the impact of stress that kills today will be irradiated in the near future.
BUT….wine grapes take a season to grow. The vines need the winter to revitalize themselves. the buds need warm weather to emerge. The grapes need months to mature and see their sugars increase. THIS IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE.
Moreover, as our lives become quicker, more automated, more controlled and as we come to rely on technology even more than we do now, the “natural” will take on for many a more spiritual character and therefore become for us even more valuable.
This is why 3 or 4 acres of Napa Valley, Russian River Valley, Willamette Valley vineyards purchased today, though seemingly very expensive, will turn out to be an astoundingly good value and investment.
The mistake we often make is assuming certain things are overpriced when not considering what is essential about those things and what makes those things overpriced. What is essential about places like Napa Valley, the Medoc, Chambolle Musigny, Russian River Valley and other proven vineyard locations is that they cannot be duplicated. Things that cannot be duplicated are more valuable. “Buy land…they aren’t making more of it.” is not just a corny saying, it’s true. But pair that fact with the truth that we are speeding further and further from nature and the land, particularly the land that has proven to provide something special, and the thing that cannot be duplicated becomes even more valuable.
The belief is that Napa Valley vineyards is a rich man’s game. That’s true. But in thirty years we will look back at the millions paid for Napa vineyard land and think, “what a bargain.”
This, by the way, will also be true of bonded wineries with a permit for tastings. If anyone tries to convince you that Napa’s, Sonoma’s or any other famed wine country’s days of attracting people is over, walk away…quickly. You are dealing with someone who can’t merely read the room. You are dealing with someone dangerously myopic.
If you are young and you can find a way to purchase prime vineyard land…and if you plan to live 30 years more (and technology suggests that’s a given) then do it. Your financial future will be secure.
Chateaux in the Medoc in the 60’s were sold for peanuts, less than a bargain, although they had a hard time selling wine back then.
Once again volunteering these news reports from California . . .
Excerpt from the Napa Valley Register “Wine” Section Online
(May 4, 2013):
“Napa Wine Industry Warned of Future Climate Threat;
Local growers confident of ability to adapt.”
By Howard Yune
“Might climate change help push Napa Valley wines off the store shelves of the future, and put bottles from Idaho, Canada or even China in their place?
“A study published last month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences forecasts temperature increases triggering the loss of two-thirds or more of the Napa Valley’s current grape output by 2050, with similar losses projected in France and other prime winemaking regions.
“The same trends of increasing average temperatures, the report’s authors predicted, also could enable a major northward shift in winemaking into the Pacific Northwest, central China and other regions once too cold for vineyards.
“For the climate change projection published last month, a team of nine researchers used 17 different climate models to gauge the effects of global warming on nine major winemaking regions, including California, the Bordeaux and Rhône regions of France, Chile and Australia.
“One scenario assumed a rise in average temperature of 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit, while a second assumed average warming of 8.5 F. In either case, the academy’s model predicted sharp production losses in traditional wine regions, as rising temperature forces growers to irrigate more frequently to ward off heat damage, move vines to higher and cooler elevations, or pull out of unprofitable areas altogether.
“California’s territory suitable for wine grapes is predicted to shrink by about 70 percent by midcentury, with an even steeper 85 percent loss forecast for France, Italy and the rest of Mediterranean Europe.
“ ‘What the report says is that using current grape varieties and current techniques, those areas would become not very good for producing wine,’ said Lee Hannah, the report’s lead author and a senior research fellow for Conservation International.
. . .
A link to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report.
“Climate change, wine, and conservation”
Excerpt from the San Francisco Chronicle “Wine” Section
(October 24, 2008):
“Five Ways California Vintners Are Weathering Climate Change”
By Paul Franson
Special to The Chronicle
Here are five ways growers and winemakers cope with new weather patterns.
1. Move to cooler climates . . .
2. Protect grapes . . .
3. Choose different grapes and wines . . .
4. Modify winemaking techniques . . .
5. Be smart about water use . . .
And if you are looking for an even bigger bargain, Consider Texas where the wine industry is growing rapidly and land prices are generally significantly lower than on the West Coast.