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Fine wine buyers look to Italy, says BI merchant

Demand for Italian fine wines has risen strongly in the past year, according to UK merchant BI Fine Wine & Spirits, and has been further boosted by the top names of Tuscany and Piedmont avoiding US import tariffs, so far. 

BI said its Italian wine sales rose by 30% globally in 2019 versus the previous year, largely via transactions on its LiveTrade platform.

Tuscany led the line, with ‘Super Tuscan’ labels Sassicaia, Tignanello and Ornellaia all seeing strong demand, said the UK-based merchant. 

It also reported rising prices, with Sassicaia 2014, 2015 and 2012 showing the biggest price gains among Italian wines on its platform in 2019.

Several fine wine market analysts regard Italy as a rising star that investors and collectors should pay more attention to. 

BI said that interest in Italy appeared to have been boosted further in the final weeks of 2019, after it became clear that the country’s winemakers would avoid the 25% US import tariffs levied on some European wines from 18 October.

Gary Boom, managing director of BI, said, ‘Over the past two years we have seen an increased focus on purchasing Italian wine for investment. 

‘Whilst Tuscan wines are not particularly limited in production, they are surprisingly difficult to source in volume on the secondary market, which helps to support price appreciation. The imposed US tariff on French wines has only added to this price support.’

That situation may still change if the US decides to expand its tariff regime, as it has threatened to do.

Boom added, ‘Whilst Italian wines should continue to see positive trading patterns, with the potential for an additional boost if US tariffs remain in place and exclude Italian wines, the sector certainly doesn’t want to see an escalation with greater tariffs imposed, which would be detrimental to the wine trade globally.’

See also: 

Burgundy fine wine gets a reality check


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