Vineyards are labour-intensive, requiring a large initial investment and a high degree of expertise, says Strutt & Parker’s Nigel Porter: “Vines are usually planted by specialist contractors and need to be securely fenced and trellised. Vine management also requires specialised viticulture tractors and equipment.
“Even the most knowledgeable farmers tend to take on a wine consultant, and a vineyard worker may also be employed. But some of this investment can be reduced by using a contract winemaker.”
Vineyards are also expensive to operate. “Some vineyard owners estimate it costs more than £100,000 a hectare for the first three years before you see a single harvestable grape,” said Porter.
“The first harvest is generally taken in the third autumn after planting. But unless the site is ideal, the first crop is not likely to be viable. The quantity will increase while the vines mature until the yield plateaus when the vines are seven to 10 years old.
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