Bruno Vespa is gambling on Prosecco

Together with German- and English-speaking foreign investors and buyers from Eastern Europe. Vineyard prices are skyrocketing, while farmhouses ripe for renovation are going for €50,000 and above
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The international spotlight is increasingly on Conegliano, gateway to the hills granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2019, equidistant from the mountains and the sea and less than one hour from Venice, Cortina and Jesolo. An excellent geographical location, in the heart of Veneto, particularly in view of the upcoming Milano-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic Games. The citadel of the province of Treviso is home to the historic school of oenology, which has trained the best oenologists and agronomists in the world. It is renowned not just for its Prosecco DOCG, but also for other important grape varieties such as incrocio Manzoni and Raboso. It therefore has all the ingredients for tourism property development to really take off, with growing interest from international buyers. That is why Bernardo Ghedin, a member of the Italian Federation of Professional Estate Agents (FIAIP) and CEO of the local Ghedin estate agents, which also boasts an office in Venice since 2015, has set up a network of professionals called Dolomiti Re. This comprises a group of 8 estate agents all the way from Arabba, in the province of Belluno, to the pearl of the Venetian Lagoon, and even includes one Austrian company. As Fabrizio Frandoli of Immobilaustria explains, “Interest in buying in the UNESCO area near Venice, at attractive prices, is growing among potential clients from Salzburg and Vienna”. But the region is also attracting a more international clientele. “A neurosurgeon from New York,” adds Rodolfo Rota from Dolomiti Re of Belluno, “is considering making a property in the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene hills his home away from home, close to all the amenities and perhaps even a golf course”. In short, within easy reach of Venice and Cortina, potential buyers from Austria, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are becoming increasingly aware of the possibilities of investing in a market with considerable potential. “As Covid spread, country houses with gardens dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were snapped up, as were apartments with large terraces, particularly top-floor units”, explains Bernardo Ghedin. “Supply has fallen and prices have risen by 30%, but they are still extremely affordable. There are houses on the market for €70,000 that could be sold on for €140,000, and even properties as affordable as €30,000 to be resold for twice the price after refurbishment”. Need an example? In Tarzo, not far from the beautiful yet little-known commune of Revine Lago, a 124-square metre property in a 1950s detached house, complete with garden and farm building ripe for renovation, is for sale for just €50,000. Renovation costs are estimated at about €1,300 per square metre. Ghedin is confident that “once renovated, it will be worth double on the open market.” 

According toMara Giacomini of the Vittorio Veneto based estate agents of the same name, “overseas buyers are primarily from Germany, England, Romania, Spain, France and America”. Edward Mazzer, owner of Edelweiss Re, tells us that “English- and German-speaking buyers are interested in country cottages and farmhouses boasting panoramic views requiring minimal work”. He adds that: “The majority of people looking to buy a property in the Prosecco hills are Italians and/or young people who have moved abroad or to other regions of Italy and who are now ready to come home. Most are searching for properties to be converted into holiday farms or B&Bs, with nature and the surrounding landscape the main attraction”. According to the expert, the most sought-after property is still the “cottage/farmhouse, even more so if it comes with a vineyard, in the breathtaking Prosecco hills, for both Italian and international clients, although overseas buyers prefer properties in move-in condition”. However, getting an overview of prices is difficult because many factors come into play in this region, including: “The preferred municipality, hilly or suburban, historic old towns, the condition of the property and whether it comes with land or a DOCG vineyard. Given the value of such vineyards” concludes Mazzer, “prices can peak at €500,000 per hectare in some areas”. Danijela Mladenovic, owner of the Il Castello estate agents of Bigolino di Valdobbiadene, even tells us that “one hectare in Cartizze today goes for $2.6 million, compared to €1.4 million in 2019, while the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is now worth in excess of €1.7 million”. It is no coincidence that the well-known television journalist Bruno Vespa entered into a commercial agreement with Giancarlo Moretti Polegato's Villa Sandi in May 2021 to produce a Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG brut called DOM, as well as a Prosecco DOC rosé, on one hectare of land, a variety that has always been supported by the President of the Venetian company. Since then, Villa Sandi has been responsible for the entire Vespa wine supply chain, from the vineyard to bottling. “There are many entrepreneurs from Veneto looking for vineyards to produce Prosecco”, the local agent continues, “but the buy-to-let market is also gaining ground, with an 80-square metre, two-bedroom newbuild apartment in the centre of Valdobbiadene going for €120,000 to €140,000. People are buying to let because rent has skyrocketed around here”. But there is more. “Cottages nestled among the vineyards or in historic villages, or nineteenth-century properties ripe for renovation and conversion into a B&B, are highly sought-after”, and demand has also been growing recently among Treviso residents themselves.

Published on Ville&Casali January 2023

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