A lacklustre 2012 Bordeaux en primeur campaign has contributed to a surge in fine Champagne sales, merchants reckon.
London wine merchants Bordeaux Index – and their peers – are reporting considerable year-on-year increases in Champagne sales.
BI said it had sold almost the same amount of Champagne in the first six months of this year as in the whole of 2012: £5.35m, against £6.5m last year and £2.5m in 2011.
Joss Fowler at Fine+Rare, another London merchant, said sales were up this year by 12%.
Fowler added that there is ‘a definite spreading away from Bordeaux’, for which sales were down 9% this year as compared to the same period last year.
At Nickolls and Perks in the West Midlands, fine wine manager Will Gardener said their sales of Champagne were up 25%. ‘People are not going into Bordeaux lookng for a decent investment, they’re going into Champagne and other things like Port.’
Gary Boom at BI said he attributed the surge in popularity not only to Champagne’s potential for immediate consumption after release, ‘but also to investors’ thirst for portfolio diversity. The Champagnes left to age become scarcer, leaving the great vintages of the most prestigious Champagnes with genuine investment potential.’
The trading platform Liv-ex records Krug 1985 going from £765 per dozen in 2003, to £3,688 in February this year; Cristal 1996 is worth £2200 today compared to £720 in 2002.
Some believe that compared with Bordeaux, fine Champagne can offer value for money: Dom Perignon 2004 was released earlier this year at around £100 per bottle retail, cheaper than some Bordeaux or Burgundy of similar stature.
Top sellers this year include the Dom Perignon 2004, released in May, Taittinger 2002 and 2004 and Pol Roger Winston Churchill 2000.
Written by Adam Lechmere