Merchants talk of a 'scramble' as limited allocation of Opus One 2013 wine is released via the Place de Bordeaux.

Opus One 2013 release in brief:

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Bordeaux negociants released Opus One 2013 at €185 per bottle ex-Bordeaux, up from €168 for the 2012.

This translated to a UK release price of £1,100. In the US, it was on sale for between $250 and $280 per bottle in bond in California and New York.

California’s Opus One is jointly owned by the Rothschild family and Constellation Brands.


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Strong demand

Liv-ex said the price ‘represents a minuscule dollar increase and… [the UK price] is heavily influenced by the weakening of the pound to dollar by 13.83% since last year’.

That helped dollar buyers in Hong Kong looking for deals with UK merchants. Asia is normally a strong market for Opus One.

But merchants said UK buyers also got involved after the release on Monday 5 September.

‘I’ve never seen such a scramble,’ said Abigail Friedman, buyer for Cru – formerly Bibendum Fine Wine – in London. She has been buying Opus One since 2003.

‘Price wise, it is still a lot more appealing than comparable hot brands in Bordeaux, and is one of the most iconic trading names that you can get out of Napa.’

barrels, opus one winery, napa valley

French oak barrels at the Opus One winery in Napa Valley, California. Credit: Rob Crandall / SCPhotos / Alamy

Michelle Lawlor, of Cru in Hong Kong, told Decanter.com that she sold out of the allocation within hours.

‘We could have sold double the amount and are currently looking for more.’

Paul Hammond, of IG Wines in the UK, also said the merchant could sell ‘twice over our allocation’.

He added, ‘With a 10% margin added to the ex-Bordeaux price (wholesale to retail), the price would have been £1,030 and the UK trade has released at £1,100 knowing that demand will outstrip supply.

‘This is a clear indication of demand and is impressive considering the exchange rate variation.

‘Had the price increased in a poorer vintage we would have struggled and would have been stuck keeping allocations that we could not sell.

‘I now expect secondary market trading at high prices.’

On the Liv-ex trading platform, the last four vintages of Opus One have so far returned an average of 47% increase on the release price.

Opus One sells around 50% of its production via the Place de Bordeaux and regularly releases on the first Monday in September. Ten years ago, it sold 20% of production this way.

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