Rosé tinted glasses: Local Provençal winemakers lose out as billionaire tycoons snap up vineyards in the wake of stars like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – pushing up cost of land in the region to £258,800 a hectare
- Sales of millennial tipple rosé de Provence have increased 516% in decade
- Glamorous celebrities like Clooneys are investing in Provençal winemaking
- Concern for young local winemakers starting out as price of vineyards soar
- Many now can’t afford to pass on vineyards to children due to inheritance tax
After years of being snubbed by wine experts and enthusiasts, rosé is having its moment in the spotlight.
Since 2010, sales of the trendy pink tipple stamped rosé de Provence, popular among millennial drinkers, have increased by 516 per cent, while its value has gone up by a whopping 963 per cent, according to the Interprofessional Wines Council of Provence.
Le Monde reports that the value of Provençal vines has risen to prices of up to £258,800 a hectare. Provence rosé is especially fashionable in the UK, with sales rising more than 51 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.
Much of the wine’s burgeoning popularity can be attributed to an influx of glamorous celebrities and billionaire tycoons investing in Provençal winemaking.
Much of the burgeoning popularity of rose wine can be attributed to an influx of glamorous celebrities and billionaire tycoons investing in Provençal winemaking (the Clooneys, pictured, are the latest Hollywood couple believed to have bought a vineyard in the area)
The Clooneys are the latest Hollywood couple believed to have bought a vineyard – the Domaine du Canadel in Brignoles, a small town in Provence. Hollywood producer George Lucas owns Château Margüi in Chateauvert down the road.
In 2008 Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie paid around €40million (£34m) for the Domaine du Miraval in Correns, while Sir James and Lady Dyson have owned the Domaine des Rabelles since in 1999.
David and Victoria Beckham acquired the Domaine Saint-Vincent in 2003, but sold it in 2016, and Lord and Lady Bamford bought Château Léoube in 1997.
But while the world’s rich and famous taking an interest in the region has created unprecedented demand for its now chic and trendy pink plonk, there is concern it’s making it difficult for young local winemakers starting out, reports The Times.
Locals now struggle to afford the soaring cost of land and vines in the area, and those that own vineyards and wish to pass them on to their children fear being stung by the eye-watering inheritance tax it now generates.
In 2008 Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie paid around €40million for the Domaine du Miraval in Correns
Sylvain Audemard, deputy chairman of the Chamber of Agriculture in the Var, the département at the heart of Provençal wine, told the publication that the ‘traditional model’ of a couple of dozen family-owned vineyards dotted around every village is under threat not so much by the celebrities that covet them, but the luxury groups in their wake that hope to capitalise on the area’s newfound fame.
‘The trend is evolving and what we are now seeing is the arrival of groups in the luxury sector who are investing millions of euros in the Var,’ he said.
‘These groups and investors frighten us… We are afraid they will crush everything in their path.’
Provençal wine’s new association with the super rich means its vineyards are becoming attractive prospects for firms like LVMH, the the world’s largest luxury goods company owned by French centibillionaire investor Bernard Arnault – the wealthiest man in the world according to Forbes.
Lord and Lady Bamford (left) bought Château Léoube in 1997, while Sir James (right) and Lady Dyson have owned the Domaine des Rabelles since in 1999
The company has already acquired two vineyards in Provence, while the fashion house Chanel has also bought two.
Consequently, small independent winemakers have seen the value of their vineyards soar by millions, attracting persistent offers from investors keen to capitalise.
Even if they manage to resist, out of a love for winemaking, they may find themselves forced to sell-up due to inheritance tax which is based on the value of the land.
Matthieu De Wulf, who owns the Domaine du Jas d’Esclans and Château de Vaucouleurs vineyards in Provence told Le Monde he is contacted every six months with offers and has already turned down two that ‘one should not decently refuse’.
Small independent winemakers in Provence have seen the value of their vineyards soar by millions, attracting persistent offers from investors keen to capitalise
Audemard added: ‘When you get old vineyards that have been in the family for seven or more generations and that are suddenly worth €2 million or more, it’s sometimes impossible [to refuse an offer].’
Didier Brémond, the mayor of Brignoles in Provence, previously expressed his delight that the Clooneys had bought a vineyard in the small town, declaring: ‘When you have someone like George Clooney who is buying in your district, you can only congratulate yourself… with George Clooney, we are in a new dimension.’
However the couple’s purchase is currently being challenged in court by another buyer who claims to have been gazumped, which is banned in France, meaning the deal could fall through.
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