Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

In Argentine Developments, Vineyards and Villas ; Uco Valley Harks Back to Napa of Decades Past, but with Far Lower Prices

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

In Argentine Developments, Vineyards and Villas ; Uco Valley Harks Back to Napa of Decades Past, but with Far Lower Prices

Article excerpt

As the country's winemaking industry grows, so too does the related real estate market.

"I'm a Texas boy and love the ranch; this reminds me of that," said Michael Brochu, a semiretired tech executive from Seattle who is awaiting the completion of his villa at The Vines of Mendoza, a development in the foothills of the Andes.

"Big open spaces," he said. "It's like Napa 30 to 40 years ago."

Mr. Brochu first heard of the development, on 400 hectares, or 1,000 acres, when he purchased eight hectares of vines several years ago through its vineyard estate program.

According to the development's Web site, more than 100 investors have already planted 280 hectares with 18 varieties of grapes, like Malbec and Syrah. A team of experts is available to help guide owners, and to produce wine at the development's own facility.

When Mr. Brochu heard that the company would be building villas adjacent to the vineyards, he jumped at the opportunity. "The key for us is the whole concept," he said. "We can participate as little or as much as we want. We drink wine, but we didn't want to be in the wine business. It's more of a lifestyle."

The one- and two-bedroom residences -- made of wood, brick and concrete -- range from $350,000 to $900,000, depending on the layout and size of the plot. (Many real estate transactions are done in Argentine pesos, but developments seeking international buyers generally price properties in dollars.) Twenty-two villas are scheduled to be completed by the Vendimia, the grape harvest in March.

But The Vines of Mendoza -- established in 2005 by Michael Evans, an American entrepreneur, and Pablo Gimenez Riili of a well-known Argentine winemaking family -- is far from being the valley's only new development.

While several projects, like the 310-hectare Valle de Uco, were put on hold in the wake of the 2008 global downturn, most are preparing for their first residents.

At La Morada de los Andes, near The Vines of Mendoza, 83 lots are under development on more than 400 hectares of vineyard. Land prices range from $90,000 to $160,000, with construction costs estimated at $1,600 a square meter, or $150 a square foot. The first structures, including the clubhouse, are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Title transfers involving residential property are much simpler than those for farmland, said Steve Rosberg, the founding and managing partner of Ushay Investments. "The lots are residential, not agricultural, and this is an important distinction," he said. The development company owns La Morada, as well as the sleek Fierro Hotel in Buenos Aires and Los Arbolitos, the for-profit vineyard investment trust that owns the vines around La Morada. Its grapes are sold to area wineries, with the trust supervised by Mr. Rosberg's son Andres, president of the Argentine Sommelier Association. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.