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November 29, 2011

Starting A California Wine Vineyard

Napa Wine VineyardsMany of the buyers interested in California Wine Vineyards are also looking at “unimproved” land that might be suitable to start a vineyard, as opposed to purchasing one that is already established.  We find that these buyers are generally in one of 2 camps.  Either they are looking for a “Deal” and feel that they can start small, and grow a presence – or they are already Vintners, looking to expand.

If you fall into the “Just Starting Out Camp” here are some things to consider:

  • Vineyard development costs fall into two basic categories – Those expenses that occur in every vineyard and those expenses that occur in some vineyards and not in others and vary according to the vineyard.
  • There is one basic decisions you have to make that will drive all the standard costs – how far apart to space your rows and vines. In the “Inner” California AVA’s, where you find more “bulk” (as opposed to premium wine production) you will find that spacing has been consistently dropping (and therefore vines per acre increasing).  In the past 20 years this “production” in certain varieties has gone from a standard 450 vines per acre (8′ by 12′ area) to close to 900 vines per acre (in a  6′ by 8′ space).   With Premium Wine Productions (again based upon the grape) in the Coastal AVA’s of Napa and Sonoma, you still find the norm to be fewer vines, better quality.
  • You should figure about $20,000 for standard costs of installing a vineyard. You can add an estimated $5,000 to $20,000 per acre to cover the upfront costs associated with engineering, WATER, soil tests, drainage, erosion, rocks, fencing, and frost protection.
  • While the numbers vary WIDELY depending on location, and the production nearby – the current typical end cost per acre is between $20,000 to $40,000 per acre.

If you’d like to learn more about Napa Valley Vineyards for sale and Sonoma Wineries available, contact Mark Stornetta 707-815-8749 – I have a unique connection to this land, to the art of wine making, to the history of the Appellations, and the value of vineyards for sale in Napa and Sonoma.

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