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Fine wine prices rise in 2022 amid ‘warning signs’, says Liv-ex

Prices on the secondary market have continued rising but the boom years may be giving way to a short-term ‘period of drift’, Liv-ex has said in its latest annual report.

Fine wine prices have outperformed mainstream equities in 2022, notably led by top Burgundy and Champagne brands, said Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the trade.

‘Fine wine continues to offer relative stability and act as an inflationary hedge,’ said the group, which is considered one of several indicators of market performance.

Its benchmark Liv-ex 100 index rose by 7.1% in sterling currency in the first 11 months of 2022, despite dipping in November.

The 10 most traded wines by value on Liv-ex in 2022 were:

  • Louis Roederer, Cristal 2008
  • Louis Roederer, Cristal 2014
  • Dom Pérignon 2012
  • Château Lafite Rothschild 2018
  • Château Mouton Rothschild 2000
  • Screaming Eagle, Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
  • Tenuta San Guido, Sassicaia 2019
  • Dom Pérignon 2008
  • Domaine Leflaive, Montrachet Grand Cru 2003
  • Château Lafite Rothschild, Carruades de Lafite 2019

Yet its report, entitled ‘a cautionary tale’, also highlighted ‘severe headwinds’ facing the market and said the outlook for 2023 was much more uncertain. In November, 45% of wines within the Liv-ex 1000 index fell in value, while 43% rose.

Sentiment among Liv-ex trade members was mixed, it said. Some members reported buyers being more ‘measured’ in their purchases.

‘No market rises for ever,’ said Justin Gibbs, deputy chairman and exchange director at Liv-ex.

‘The fine wine market has been on the up since 2015. An increasing amount of indicators are pointing to a pull back in the short-term. But the wine market has never been about the short-term,’ he said.

Liv-ex’s report concluded, ‘The red flags have been hoisted. But given fine wine’s track record during periods of inflation and uncertainty, long-term enthusiasts will find it easy to look on the bright side.’

As previously reported, fine wine prices for top-tier Burgundy and Champagne labels have been the standout performers on the market in 2022.

Liv-ex’s Burgundy 150 and Champagne 50 indices were up by around 27% and nearly 22% respectively for the first 11 months of 2022. Both dropped in November, however – the Champagne 50 falling 2.5%. Other indices have risen more steadily, as the chart below shows.

Liv-ex 1000 index showing regional indices November 2022

How the regional sub-indices within the Liv-ex 1000 have performed this year. Credit: Liv-ex.

Bordeaux’s market share of trades on Liv-ex fell to a new low in 2022, at 34.5% versus 37.7% last year.

This reflects a long-term trend, as collectors have broadened their tastes. Yet Bordeaux is widely considered to remain a cornerstone of the fine wine market not least because of the breadth of top producers and relatively large volumes.

Liv-ex noted evidence in its report that buyers have been narrowing their focus on the market.

While there is considerable uncertainty about the market’s future direction, some in the trade have said wine has a reputation for holding value and have also pointed to longer-term drinker and collector trends.

Matthew O’Connell, CEO of Bordeaux Index’s LiveTrade trading platform, has previously highlighted the popularity of top-tier brands within a growing global market for luxury consumption.

Commenting on Champagne for Decanter magazine’s Market Watch last week, he said several prestige cuvées have changed their price context on the market in the past 18 months. ‘There’s good momentum, we see very strong trading activity, [with] parcels move very quickly,’ he added.

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