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Top-traded fine wines on Liv-ex in ‘challenging’ 2023

Prestige Champagne brands have led this year’s list of top-traded wines on Liv-ex, a global marketplace for the trade, amid declines across the group's major indices and a warning that prices remain under pressure.

Prices for many fine wines have fallen to varying degrees on the secondary market, said the new Liv-ex 2023 report. 

Its key Liv-ex 100 and Liv-ex 1000 indices both dropped by around 13% in value in 11 months to 30 November, although were still higher than five years ago.

Justin Gibbs, Liv-ex deputy chairman and exchange director, said, ‘The year has been marked by a sustained decline in the headline indices, initially led by profit taking but more latterly by a creeping risk aversion.’

Performance of Liv-ex 1000 regional sub-indices in 2023

Liv-ex 1000 regional sub-indices 2023

How the Liv-ex 1000 regional sub-indices have performed in 2023, to 30 November. Credit: Liv-ex.

Prestige Champagnes saw some of the biggest price ‘corrections’, having risen particularly steeply in a bullish market during 2021 and much of 2022.

Liv-ex’s Champagne 50 index dropped 17.2% in the first 11 months of 2023, although it was still up by 53% in five years.

Champagne leads top-traded wines

Champagnes dominated a ranking of the most-traded wines on Liv-ex this year so far. Louis Roederer’s Cristal 2015 was the top-traded wine by value, narrowly ahead of Dom Pérignon 2013. 

Both were released earlier in 2023 and have seen their Liv-ex market price fall during the year. Dom Pérignon 2013 was £1,646 (12x75cl in bond) in December, versus £1,830 in January, Liv-ex said.

Other top-traded wines by value were:

  • Opus One 2019
  • Cristal 2014
  • Screaming Eagle 2020
  • Sassicaia 2019
  • Château Lafite Rothschild 2019
  • Château Lafite Rothschild 2010
  • Petrus 2020
  • Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne 2012

By volume, the five top-traded wines on Liv-ex in 2023 were:

  • Dom Pérignon 2013
  • Cristal 2015
  • Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne 2012
  • Cristal 2014
  • Château Talbot 2020 (Bordeaux fifth growth) 

Back to Bordeaux?

Liv-ex said Bordeaux’s share of trades is rising for the first time in 10 years, and the region is benefiting from a ‘flight to quality’ in uncertain times.

Gibbs said, ‘The market’s focus has narrowed as buyers have sought out a safe haven – top Bordeaux vintages with bottle age being their main area of focus.’

Bordeaux accounted for around 40% of trades by value on Liv-ex in 2023 year-to-date, slightly up on 2022 but still far below its 80% share a decade ago.

Ongoing price pressure for fine wines

It remains to be seen where the bottom of the secondary market lies. 

‘Prices look set to remain under pressure in the short-term,’ said Liv-ex, adding buyers and sellers were at an impasse.

‘Until the macroeconomic context improves and interest rates come down, a compromise must be reached between the two sides of the market; the ongoing price correction has thus far not been enough to coax buyers back in large numbers.’

Some buyers have still been turning up for auction.

Online auction house iDealwine recently analysed its Champagne data, noting this week: ‘Based on preliminary figures, iDealwine forecasts an overall increase in the volume of Champagne sales in 2023, but a decrease in the average bottle price from €259 (£223) to €230 (£198).’

Matthew O’Connell, CEO of the LiveTrade online platform at merchant Bordeaux Index, told Decanter magazine recently that prevailing prices were down around 10% in a quiet trading environment.

Drawing on historical context, he suggested the market could be at, or close to, its lowest point in the current downturn, but a recovery in demand would depend on several factors. Higher interest rates have likely dented discretionary spending on fine wine, he noted.

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