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Burgundy 2020 releases tap into ‘insatiable’ global demand

Collectors' thirst for Burgundy 2020 en primeur wines has been strong in a bullish market, suggests a new Liv-ex report, but there is more evidence of tight allocations.

Liv-ex said the trade ‘is reporting strong sales’ of Burgundy 2020 wines following the first en primeur releases in recent weeks, despite higher prices.

Decanter’s Charles Curtis MW rated Côte d’Or reds and whites highly in his Burgundy 2020 overview, published earlier this month.

Liv-ex’s new Burgundy report also suggested that getting hold of some wines has become even more difficult.

‘The trade continues to report an insatiable global buying appetite that has led to reduced allocations to collectors, despite another year of rising prices,’ it said.

‘Merchants are allocating ever greater numbers of premier and grand crus in three-packs.’ 

The group, a global marketplace for the trade, also pointed to concerns about supply shortages in the background of the 2020 campaign.

While Burgundy’s 2020 vintage wasn’t particularly small overall, ‘it is squeezed between the low-yielding 2019 vintage and the miniscule 2021’, said Liv-ex.

There was speculation prior to this month’s campaign about how wineries might manage supplies. However, Liv-ex cited Burgundy expert Jasper Morris MW in reporting that some producers have released full allocations of 2020 wines to merchants and importers, rather than releasing in two instalments.

The first 2020 en primeur releases have also arrived during a buoyant period for the fine wine market in general.

‘The 2020 vintage is being offered into the teeth of a bull market for Burgundy,’ said Liv-ex. Its Burgundy 150 index rose by 31% last year.

Price rises have been led by the ‘blue chip’ names, as previously reported by Decanter.

‘Burgundy is certainly trading strongly so far this year,’ said Matthew O’Connell, CEO of LiveTrade at UK-based merchant Bordeaux Index.

Outside of en primeur, he said top-tier names were still leading the way. ‘DRC and Leroy have seen particularly high demand,’ he said.

Regarding en primeur, he said, ‘Reports from across the market imply strong demand for en primeur [wines] across the producer spectrum but one always has to consider the extent to which apparent demand for lower “tier” names is in reality driven by such purchases being linked to increased likelihood of securing allocation of top names.’

Liv-ex pointed to evidence that secondary market trading on Burgundy in general continues to expand as collectors seek alternatives to established names.

‘Tight allocations for premier and grand crus mean eager Burgundy buyers will have to continue their journey of discovery into different appellations if they wish to keep their cellars stocked with the region’s wines,’ it said.

Liv-ex sales director Anthony Maxwell said, ‘Blue-chip labels continued to command significant attention even as the category broadened to encompass new growers and appellations, a trend that will likely continue in 2022.’


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