Vineyard purchase

vineyard purchase

You don't have to be an oenologist to love wine. But from there to buy a wine estate ... And why not? Original and ambitious, buying a vineyard requires an excellent knowledge of viticulture and trends in this exclusive market little known to the general public. Does the idea appeal to you? Before you start, make sure to mark down all the important points to study in detail to guarantee the success of your project. Buildings, fields, soil, climate, wine cellar, equipment, stocks, human resources, rents, capital gains, cooperative cellar shares, brand, agricultural fund: Barnes Mont Blanc helps you to analyze point by point all the elements to take into account before acquiring a wine estate to avoid unpleasant surprises and possible litigation with serious consequences.

Building security and compliance

The transferred buildings must comply with the mandatory safety standards. Before signing, ask the seller to show you the mandatory diagnoses and to append them to the bill of sale:

  • Asbestos in all buildings. Its validity is unlimited if the report is negative, 3 years if it is positive.
  • Lead poisoning: This diagnosis reflects the blood lead level, the presence and risk of lead poisoning. It is compulsory for buildings constructed before 1948. Its validity is unlimited if the report is negative, 3 years if it is positive.
  • Access and water quality: This study to determine the composition and potability of water must be carried out by a laboratory approved by the government (Ministry of Health and / or the Environment).
  • Diagnosis of termites and other wood-eating insects (valid for 6 months).
  • Energy performance diagnosis or DPE (valid for 10 years).
  • Septic tanks: this study is carried out by the Public Service for Non-Collective Sanitation (SPANC), an organization approved by the municipality. A certificate of conformity is given if the study is satisfactory.
  • Important: Make sure that all the diagnoses and certificates of conformity appear in the seller's file with the bill of sale, at the time of signing. If a document is missing, do not sign until it is attached to the bill of sale.

In addition to the diagnostics, you must find out about several important points such as the building permit and the local urban plan (PLU). If you are planning renovations or additions, make sure there are no physical or administrative obstacles to prevent you. The study of risks linked to natural disasters and the work damage guarantee (valid for 10 years) are other points that should hold your attention. The study of structures is highly recommended. To achieve this, you can call on a construction engineer or an expert architect. The outbreak of a highway, a wind turbine or a residential area can have a negative impact on your wine estate. To find out if major works are planned in your geographic area, ask local and regional authorities (town hall, prefecture).

The vineyard

After the buildings intended for all stages of wine making, make way for the raw material: the vines and the terroir. The careful analysis of the vineyard can be broken down into 6 parts:

  • Planted area: Measure areas via GPS for greater accuracy. This calculation is necessary before any acquisition of a vineyard, in particular if the vineyard is old.
  • The grape varieties: The grape variety sheet, produced by the services of the National Institute of Appellations of Origin, is an annual declaration which reflects the harvests that the winemaker wishes to market with the AOC designation. This sheet must be updated and validated by the ODG or the customs services. As for the AOC plots, check the density of the grape varieties and their classification.
  • Natural risks: The climate has a great impact on the production and quality of wine. Is your vineyard at the mercy of drought in summer or frost in winter? Is there a risk of flooding? Several maps identifying risk areas can be viewed.
  • The health of the vineyard: The vines are exposed to several diseases (wood disease, flavescence dorée, euthypiosis) and other health risks such as a rise in salt. An inventory is therefore essential to know the health status of the coveted vineyard before signing the deed of sale.
  • Wood: Study the PLU to know if your plots can actually be used for wine-making purposes.
  • The missing: Make a precise inventory before the controls of the defense and management organization (ODG).

The equipments

All the equipment used must obviously be in good working order, but also comply with the environmental and labor standards in force. The transfer price takes into account the value of the cellar and agricultural equipment sold. Make an inventory of all equipment and their condition.

The cave

Upon entering the winery, you may not know where to start your inspection. Start by checking whether the environmental and occupational safety standards are respected, as well as the specific standards associated with each designation. Examine the electrical installations. Check the presence of chloroanisoles (molecules that can contaminate wine) and the treatment of effluents.

Human resources

In general, when selling a wine estate, every effort is made to preserve employment contracts. This means that the people who work in the current operation will be the ones who will operate on your domain. Watch them working during your visit. A first overview can give you some interesting information about the staff and how they work. Above all, check the employment contracts. Make sure they are in good standing. 


The valuation and calculation of stocks are delicate tasks. Bottles, bulk stocks, dry materials, phytosanitary products: take the time to count everything. 

Advances to cultures 

In order to guarantee the continuity of the vineyard, the future seller pays money to obtain a good harvest, even if he knows that he is about to sell his vineyard. These costs are called crop advances. In practice, they are added to stocks. 


If the wine estate for sale is rented, the owner must discuss with the installed farmer to reach an agreement to terminate the lease. This scenario is quite rare, since the vast majority of potential buyers are not interested in a rental vineyard. 

Cooperative cellars 

In certain wine-growing areas, the winegrowers give their grapes to a cooperative winery. In the event of a transfer, the new owner may wish to terminate this agreement. This will have to be communicated in writing before signing the deed of sale. You will not have to pay severance pay. 

The brand 

Maximum protection of the brands sold is fundamental. Make sure the protection covers international markets. 

Agricultural funds 

How to calculate their value? Should we take our word for the winemaker who praises the quality of his agricultural holdings? Will current customers continue to buy their wine from you? Hard to say. These questions, however, deserve time for reflection. 

Capital gains 

Gain is the positive difference between the purchase price and the sale price of the vineyard. There are two types of capital gains: private and professional. To calculate them, you should use the services of a notary, a chartered accountant and a legal advisor. 

Do you want to know more about the sale and purchase of wine estates? Barnes Mont Blanc real estate agents help you optimize your vineyard sale or acquisition project.

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