The price of vineyards in and around Champagne rose last year, despite a fall in prices across the rest of France.

The Société d'Amenagément Foncier et d'Establissement Rural (SAFER) issued its annual study of France's rural property market earlier this week.

The price per hectare of Champagne vineyards reached almost EUR627,000 per hectare last year, an increase of 8.4% on 2005. This rise contrasted with the decline and - at best - moderate growth in property sale values in other French vineyards.

Champagne vineyard prices in the last 15 years have tripled. The SAFER study also highlighted the scarcity of Champagne vineyards for sale - the 754 transactions concluded last year concerned only 162 hectares.

Excluding Champagne, prices for AOC-producing vineyards fell by 3.5% resulting in a cumulative decrease of 13% over the past three years. 

Overall, EUR556.5m changed hands last year for 14,581 hectares of French vineyards, an increase of 2.4% on 2005. After Champagne, Alsace vineyards (EUR133,700/ha) commanded the highest prices with the lowest to be found in Languedoc-Roussillon (EUR 10,500/ha).