What a corking idea: how to produce your own wine in France
Hobby vineyards can be for anyone – and if you find the right property and are smart about your set up, you can serve up your own local wine to family and friends with no additional costs
Does spending warm summer nights in France sipping the wine you’ve made from your private vineyard sound appealing? If so, then have you considered buying a hobby vineyard in France?
Far from being a commercial venture requiring a complete change of career and absolute dedication, a lifestyle vineyard means just that. A property that will shape your life in the French countryside, yet be one that you have complete control over.
A French lifestyle with wine that’s as local as it gets
Due to the flexibility of how you look after the vines on your land, buying a hobby vineyard in France is truly an option that anyone interested in making small amounts of wine from their home in France could consider.
Home Hunts, a buyer’s agents in France with a specialist vineyard-finding division, helps all kinds of different people to find (and set up) the vineyard property that is right for them.
“From young couples looking for a retreat, to city boys, retired couples and families looking for a B&B property with revenue. We help a diverse range of people find lifestyle vineyard properties in France,” says Tim Swannie, the company’s director.
“We get a lot of interest from Brits, Dutch, Belgians, Germans, Scandinavians, as well as Americans and South Africans,” he adds. “Most clients don’t want to turn the vines into a commercial venture. But, they do love the idea of being able to produce their own wine for friends, family and perhaps B&B guests.”
No experience necessary with a hobby vineyard in France
Looking after a hobby vineyard in France doesn’t have to dominate your time. You could get a local vineyard to manage and harvest the grapes. Of course, if you’re keen to learn the ropes yourself that’s also no problem – although it is more time consuming.
“We’ve helped lots of clients with no previous experience,” says Tim. “Taking on a huge commercial venture could be a step too far, but even that wouldn’t be impossible. We would always say preparation is key to any property purchase. A property with a vineyard attached takes extra thinking and research, that is all.
Many hobby vineyard owners get help from a local expert for the first season or two while they get up to speed. While working with a local vineyard sounds like it could be expensive, in practice it could just be a cost-free mutually-agreeable deal. It depends on the size of your land, and the number and condition of your vines.
“If you want to keep all the wine yourself, then of course there would be a cost. Often though, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all,” explains Tim. “Many owners have their vines looked after for free. The vineyard keeps the majority of the wine and pays the owner with a certain number of bottles each year.”
How to find the right hobby vineyard for you
Anyone tempted by the idea of buying a hobby vineyard in France should start by looking at the range of vineyard properties available listed on Home Hunts’ website. There is also a downloadable vineyard buyer’s guide accessible from the website. This explains what’s involved in buying a vineyard property and suggests the right questions to ask throughout the finding and buying process.
Although many vineyard properties are “off-market” – the market operates in a highly discreet fashion which is why you need to be well contacted – the website shows plenty of hobby vineyards in France with good investment prospects.
This three-bedroom house, for example, offers stunning views over its vineyards and its famous next door neighbour: Carcassonne’s medieval old town, La Cité. With landscaped gardens, a shady terrace and a pool surrounded by modern decking, at €743,000 this property offers great potential for buyers looking for a hobby vineyard in France in an idyllic countryside location.
Finding the right agent to help you buy a vineyard in France
As an independent buyer’s agent, the Home Hunts’ team has only the interests of their clients at the forefront of every decision and negotiation made on a property.
“We guide clients through the entire buying process from start to finish. We are also there to help beyond that point,” says Tim. “We put our clients in touch with all of the specialists they may need, whether it is renovations, interior design or vineyard maintenance. Having built up a great network of contacts throughout France we connect our clients with the best people and the right advice every step of the way.”
If you are looking to buy a hobby vineyard in France, you can browse through Home Hunts’ online portfolio at www.home-hunts.com. If you’re ready to discuss your property criteria, pick up the phone and speak to a Home Hunts consultant at +33 (0)970 44 66 43, that way the team can also tell you about any relevant off-market hobby vineyards for sale in France.