Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Archive for May, 2012

The real price of champagne

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Talking on Sunday to Damien Chauvet of Champagne Henri Chauvet, a good producer at Rilly-la-Montagne, I was reminded why champagne can never be cheap.

A hectare of champagne vines, he said, typically costs around £1.3 million, but even in these straightened times, a hectare sold last week for £1.8 million. He estimates that it would take him fifty years to earn enough to afford such an outlay, and for that reason he prefers to rent land rather than buy.

A fixed interest ‘metayage’ agreement, say for 25 years assures the land owner something like a 20% share of the value of the grapes produced on it. With grapes at £5.20/kilo, a hectare can bring in, he says, an income of €1,000 per month. If you have ten hectares to rent, you’re in clover.

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