A series of successful auctions and improved fine wine pricing shows that investors are regaining their thirst for top Bordeaux.
The Liv-ex 50 fine wine index, which tracks the last ten physical vintages of the five Bordeaux first-growths, is up by around 10% since November last year.
Miles Davis, at Wine Asset Managers (WAM), said the rise is ‘significant’ as an indicator of the fine wine market’s health, and shows ‘demand is much stronger’. WAM believes the fine wine market in general is in ‘recovery mode’.
The increase in demand, Davis told Decanter.com, is partly driven by a supply shortage among merchants, who are looking to restock. However, he also believes the longer-term investment trend looks positive heading into 2013.
‘We’ve just come out of a 30% market correction, so it’s a good time to be buying,’ said Davis. He said Asia continues to be a key source of fine wine investment, but that there is ‘evidence of more American interest creeping back in the past year or so’.
There has been an upbeat tone from auction houses in the past few days.
A Sotheby’s auction in New York at the weekend saw 99.4% of lots sold and fetched a total US$1.46m, with most wines exceeding their estimated price tags.
This included six bottles of Petrus 1982, which sold to a private buyer in Latin America for just over $30,000, versus an estimated selling price of $15-20,000. A 12-bottle haul of Yquem 2011 went to a Europe-based buyer for $24,500, two-and-a-half times its expected price tag.
‘Today’s offerings of Ornellaia, Dom Pérignon, and Yquem were all 100% sold,’ said Jamie Ritchie, the CEO & president of Sotheby’s wine division in the Americas and Asia.
A couple of days earlier, Christie’s saw 97% of lots sold in a London auction that fetched £960,000 (US$1.46m); roughly equal to value sales at the Sotheby’s auction and ahead of a top estimate of £904,000.
A highlight of the Christie’s auction was a 12-bottle cache of Lafite Rothschild 1982, which sold for £34,500.
This week, Acker, Merrall & Condit began its 2013 auction season in New York with US$3.1m in sales and 94% of lots sold. While Acker said it continued to see a ‘Bordeaux renaissance’, with the region accounting for 15 of the top 25 lots sold, it also highlighted buyers’ broadening palates.
‘Burgundy’s momentum continued, led by two extraordinary parcels of Raveneau and Liger-Belair that came to us directly from Europe,’ said Acker CEO John Kapon. The auction’s best-selling lot was a three-bottle haul of 2006 Romanee Conti, in an original wooden case, for $27,060.
Written by Chris Mercer