Getting Into Winegrowing: Why Start Small?

I’ll share a little secret with you: After I’d been drinking wine “seriously” for about a year, I began having daydreams about one day owning my own vineyard.

Like Oliver Wendell Douglas (the character played by Eddie Albert on “Green Acres”), I would become a gentleman farmer. I would replace my alarm clock with a rooster, and I would tend my vines by day, then drink the product of my toil by night.

There were only two problems with that daydream. First, farming—including taking care of grapevines—apparently involves a good deal of contact with dirt. Second, you can’t just go somewhere and plant grapevines; you actually have to own the land.

I am nothing if not pragmatic, so those two issues always snapped me right back to reality. That’s the thing about daydreams: There’s typically not much about them that’s real.


I hadn’t thought much about “grape farming”—a.k.a. viticulture—in recent years. And then I came across this article from The Drinks Business.

It seems there’s a plot of land for sale in western Argentina, quite close to Chile, that reportedly is ideal for growing winegrapes. Better still, the selling price is just 6 pounds per acre.

Then I read a little further…

I learned a long time ago to be wary of certain phrases when contemplating the purchase of real estate, be it a home or just land. It’s usually a good idea to stay away…far, far away…from “fixer-uppers.” Likewise, the phrase “has great potential” should be considered a red flag.

Well, it turns out that the property that’s available in Argentina does have “great potential,” and the per-acre price being asked seems like a legitimate bargain.

So what’s the catch? The “plot” of land being offered spans 989,000 acres. As the article in The Drinks Business points out, that’s about three-and-a-half times the size of Hong Kong.

Let’s see…989,000 times 6 pounds is…well out of my ballpark.

Still, it’s fun to think about: a few hundred rows of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes over here…a few thousand rows of Malbec vines over there…perhaps an experimental garden with a few vines each of every varietal conceivable…

Hey, if you’re going to dream, you may as well dream big.

Posted in Wine Region Profiles
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