The vineyards in Champagne are the most expensive in France.
It is not often we read about the local prices of land in the paper. But rumours of course travel on fast wings as well. So we hear a little bit here, a little bit there... in the cooperative, from the neighbours, a collegue, at the aquagym... They turn out to be exaggerated - that seems the second nature of rumours - but only slightly.
The average price for a hectare of vineyards in Champagne is 578.000 euros. So we are actually papermillionaires in both Danish crowns and French francs. Even the wealth is rather theoretical, since the vineyards are also a condition of our income.
The numbers cover big, regional differences:
- Côte des Blancs: 800.000 euros
- Grande Montagne: 680.000 euros
- Vallée de la Marne: 680.000 euros
- Côte d'Épernay: 550.000 euros (+25% in 2005)
- Vitry-le-Francois: 550.000 euros (+16% in 2005)
- l'Aube: 480.000 euros
- Vallée de la Vesle: 475.000 euros (+15% in 2005)
- l'Aisne: 400.000 euros
- Vallée de l'Ardre: 350.000 euros (+17% in 2005)
According to the local newspaper, l'Union, the most expensive land, sold in the Côte des Blancs last year reached 950.000 euros per hectare, which comes close to that million per hectare, we already heard about at the coop last year.
One of the landmarks of the Côte des Blancs: The little summerhouse at Cramant.
It is only the prices of the approximately 32.000 hectares of vignobles of Champagne that actually reaches the skies. As for the rest, the average price of a hectare with its 5.510 euros is far from the top of France, which is the department of Var in Southern France with its 25.350 euros per hectare. Elderly people from all over Europe still move to Southern France on a big scale to enjoy a retirement on the sunny side. And the prices rice accordingly.
This trend does not really exist in Champagne, known as one of the coolest regions of France. The cold weather - even it is not that cold to a Dane - is one of the secrets behind the great wine. Many of the foreigners, I meet here, are either married into local families like me, or live here due to their jobs.
Noone however can just buy some vineyards and create a career as a winegrower in France. The authorities demand papers, exams and so on. For this purpose I would on top of my recent pruning-certificate need at least to pass the equivalent of the subjects related to the wine of a French baccalauréat viticole.
In fact you also cannot just buy farmland... a whole range of different authorities must be contacted, and you need their permission, whether you are French or foreign. If and when they - that is foreigners or non-qualified French - still are able to buy land, it will normally be due to a necessary combination with a farm manager who has the qualifications it takes.
Another landmark: The mill of Mumm outside Verzenay in the Montagne de Reims.
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