The heart of California wine country—the Napa and Sonoma regions—are out of the price range of many potential investors. “Land prices are high relative to bottle prices in Napa and Sonoma, and getting more expensive for the production of fine wine,” Jenny Heinzen, director of winery and vineyard sales for WineryX Real Estate in Napa Valley, said.
Fortunately, there are other regions of the country producing wines that also have devoted followers and attractive potential upsides. As the regions become more popular wine tourism destinations, there is increased demand for lodging, restaurants and other tourist-driven businesses. Investors could also benefit from the increasing real estate values in the areas.
“Oregon is well-positioned for longer-term growth because of the growing popularity of its primary varietal, pinot noir,” Heinzen said. The vineyards and wineries of Oregon are gaining nationwide recognition for their incredible pinot noirs as well as their pinot gris. The value of Oregon’s wine grape crop increased 27.6 percent to $46.7 million in 2006, according to the Salem StatesmanJournal.
Promising areas: Dundee and McMinnville (Willamette Valley)
Washington’s “number of wineries has increased 400 percent in the last decade, attracting two million annual visitors to Washington wine country and creating a two million dollar wine-tourism industry,” according to Wines Northwest. Red grapes grow especially well in Washington, and Washington syrahs have been growing enormously in popularity.
Promising areas: Prosser (Yakima Valley) and Walla Walla (Walla Walla Valley)
For many people, Idaho is still the land of potatoes, but the state is also beginning to make a name for itself in the wine world. Almost all of Idaho’s wineries are located in the Snake River Valley. Idaho is most noted for its chardonnays, rieslings and cabernet sauvignons.
Promising area: Marsing (Snake River Valley)
Most of the state’s wineries are located southeast of Tucson, but the Sedona region is an up-and-coming location. The high altitude volcanic soil region near Sedona is excellent for grape growing. The emerging wine industry combined with continued population growth—caused in part by a constant influx of retirees—mean that property in Arizona’s wine regions could be in for tremendous price growth. Syrah and grenache are among the most popular varietals in Arizona.
Promising area: Sedona (Verde Valley)
There are two major wine regions within Texas: The Hill Country and the High Plains. The Hill Country region, west of San Antonio, has the most wineries in Texas. Lubbock is the center of the High Plains region. Texas is experiencing tremendous population growth and is a popular relocation destination for retirees. Cabernet sauvignon and merlot are two of the most common varietals in Texas.
Promising area: Fredericksburg (Texas Hill Country)
Additional Information: Vineyard Resource List, Vineyard Service Provider Directory