Harvard Quietly Amasses California Vineyards—and the Water Underneath

This post is a bit off our normally beaten path but the parallels are interesting.


The university’s endowment manager, Harvard Management Co., was stealthily building a sizable grape-growing business on the Central Coast through entities including Brodiaea. With the land, it was acquiring rights to vast sources of water in a region where the earth’s warming is making the resource an ever-more-valuable asset.

In a warming planet, few resources will be more affected than water, as more-frequent droughts, storms and changes in evaporation alter a flow critical for drinking, farming and industry.

Even though there aren’t many ways to make financial investments in water, investors are starting to place bets. Buying arable land with access to it is one way. In California’s Central Coast, “the best property with the best water will sell for record-breaking prices,” says JoAnn Wall, a real-estate appraiser who specializes in vineyards, “and properties without adequate water will suffer in value.”



One thought on “Water

  1. Water is one of the aspects of TPL that fascinates me. Not just what’s used for the shale/oil. Dr Michael Burry from the Big Short invests in water rights. Water is an excellent inflation hedge. So much of water investments resides in private equity or hedge fund investments. Yet another potentiality with TPL, just not sure of what other forms it will take. Good find on this, thanks!

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