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Champagne prices rising fast on fine wine market, says Bordeaux Index

Price gains for top vintage Champagnes have been a key trend on the fine wine market in recent weeks, suggests new data, following on from a good performance in the first half of the year.

Champagne prices rose strongly on several top vintage cuvées in September, said Matthew O’Connell, head of investment at Bordeaux Index and also CEO of the group’s LiveTrade platform.

It’s a category where the top wines have a reputation for accruing value relatively slowly over time but O’Connell said ‘Champagne has gone crazy in the last couple of months’ – adding to a sense of momentum from the first half of the year.

Krug 2002 and 2004 were among the notable risers in September, versus August, based on LiveTrade trading data.

O’Connell added the price of Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne 2006 also jumped by 19% in September. Dom Pérignon 2004 was up by 7% and Cristal 2004, 2009 and 2012 were up by 8%, 9% and 6% respectively.

For context, several merchants and analysts have also reported momentum for first growth Bordeaux, blue chip Burgundy and Tuscany during 2021, too. Speaking to Decanter.com this week, O’Connell said the fine wine market overall appeared to be ‘in a good place’.

At Bordeaux Index, fine wine and spirits sales in the first half of 2021 hit $82m (£59.8m), up by 44% on the same period of 2020.

For Champagne specifically, O’Connell said momentum had likely been boosted by higher demand following the reopening of restaurants and hospitality venues in general.

Yet the trend also marks a continuation of strong trading on prestige cuvée Champagne in the first half of 2021, as well as over the past two or three years.

While enthusiasm around the releases of the 2008 and 2012 vintages has played a role, Bordeaux Index has also highlighted a rapid development of buyer demand in Asia.

Liv-ex also reported rising prices for top Champagnes in September. In its new monthly market report, published this week, it said its trading data showed that the biggest movers were Taittinger’s Comtes 2006, Dom Pérignon 2008, Comtes 2007, Dom Pérignon 2006 and Krug 2004.

From an investment point-of-view, Bordeaux Index said in its recent outlook report that a key question to consider was whether Champagne’s profile has shifted to give it ‘intrinsically more attractive characteristics over the medium-term (two to three years at least).’

It has historically been seen as providing solid returns over time, particularly as corks are popped and supplies diminish, but on a ‘lower risk, lower return’ basis. It’s too soon to know, the firm said, but this could be a dynamic for collectors to watch.

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