Stellenbosch wine farms attract investors and top prices

Demand for farms has increased over the last two years and top end farms in Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch are now selling again, according to Pierre Germishuys, Seeff’s managing director for the Cape Winelands and Boland.

“The demand continues to be driven by good performance of wine and tourism industries. Over weekends, there is now an almost constant stream of people visiting the wine farms for tastings, restaurant outings or to attend one of the many festivals in the area.”

“From Stellenbosch and Franschhoek to Paarl and as far afield as Tulbagh, there is demand for wine farms. While the lower end of the price scale to around R30 million remains most in demand, the last year or so has seen top end investors prepared to pay top prices again for wine farms, especially in the Stellenbosch area,” says agri-agent, André Malan.

“This includes three transactions this year such as a 28ha farm that was sold for R54.5m. Uva Mira, a 140ha estate between Stellenbosch and Somerset West for R65m (R464 000/ha) and the 100ha Cordoba, high up on the slopes of the Helderberg was sold for R58m (R580 000/ha).

“Other recent sales in the Stellenbosch area include the 202ha Klaver Valley farm that was sold last year for R96.5m or R477 000/ha. The year before, there were also two top sales of R40.7m and R42.5m for 99ha and 74ha respectively, achieving a rate a hectare of R430 000 and R550 000.”

Although the demand is strong for top end farms, prices have remained fairly flat over the last five years, says Malan. Prices vary depending on the location, strength of the wine brand and the facilities on offer such as a hotel, restaurant and cottages.

“In general though, smaller boutique wine farms are priced from around R20 to R30m whereas top wine brands can sell for up to R200m and as much as R300m. Most of the top farms are marketed on a very exclusive and confidential basis and not advertised,” says Malan.

Farms in the Franschhoek valley tend to fetch the highest prices and can range to about R1m to R1.2m a hectare range. Farms in Stellenbosch sell for about R800 000 to R1m a hectare and for about R400 000 to R600 000 a hectare in the Paarl Valley.

Historic farms tend to attract a lot of attention especially those with well-preserved Cape Dutch heritage architecture. Malan says that investors tend to seek these out for renovation and development into top wine brands that can then be worth several million rand.

“There are usually very few on the market. In the Stellenbosch area, there is for example just one, a 62ha farm that dates to the late 1600s with its original 500m2 Cape Dutch manor house still well-preserved.

“It is in the Bottelary Hills area and is already attracting significant interest with at least three serious buyers looking at it. Priced at R17.95m, the farm includes 40ha planted with Pinotage, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz and Merlot. The estate has shares in a nearby wine cellar that processes the annual grape production.

“The old wine cellar is also still on the farm and although in disuse, could potentially also be renovated and restored. There are also several outbuildings including two 600m sheds, a three-bedroom manager’s house and several labourers’ cottages.

“Water sources include a dam, Theewaterskloof irrigation water and a natural spring that feeds the main house with top quality water and no harmful chemicals. There is also Eskom electricity.”

The Bottelary Hills area is one of the oldest wine producing regions, established in about 1679 by Simon van der Stel. It is home to a number of well-known wine farms such as Hartenberg, Goede Hoop, Hazendal and Kaapzicht.

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