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Liv-ex names top-traded wines amid ‘risk-averse’ market

Prestige Champagnes were some of the most traded wines on Liv-ex’s marketplace in the third quarter of 2023, as declines across the group’s major indices suggested fine wine prices remained under pressure. 

Dom Pérignon 2013 was the most traded wine in both volume and value on Liv-ex’s global marketplace for the trade in the three months to the end of September.

The Champagne’s market price has dipped slightly, however, to £1,700 per 12-bottle case in bond, versus £1,830 at the end of May, Liv-ex said in a new market report covering the third quarter of 2023 (Q3).

Risk-averse market

Whilst prices vary and its figures are only one indicator of market performance, Liv-ex’s data suggested the fine wine sector continued to be largely subdued going into the final months of the year, despite showing ‘pockets of strength’.

Both the headline Liv-ex 100 and Liv-ex 1000 indices were down by around 10% in the first nine months of 2023, although they were still up 19% over five years. 

Justin Gibbs, Liv-ex deputy chairman and exchange director, said, ‘Despite being a year into the market downturn the market headwinds have not abated. Quite the opposite. With Chinese demand sidelined and higher interest rates weighing on stock holding strategies, both at the merchant and collector level, risk aversion remains pervasive. 

‘This said, fine wine has always been a (relatively) steady ship in a storm and recent trade dynamics suggest some are beginning to sniff an opportunity. But the momentum, for now, remains with the bears.’

Most traded wines on Liv-ex

Five of the most traded wines in value terms on Liv-ex in Q3 were Champagnes.

Alongside Dom Pérignon 2013, they included: Cristal 2015, Cristal 2008, Rare ‘Millésime Rosé’ 2014 and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2012.

Cristal 2015 and Taittinger Comtes 2012 were also among the wines most traded by volume, a list that also featured Le Pupille’s Saffredi 2020 and Tenuta San Guido’s Sassicaia 2019 from Tuscany.

They were joined by Château Pontet-Canet 2018 and Château Beychevelle 2020 from Bordeaux’s Pauillac and St-Julien appellations respectively. 

Champagne buyers eyeing opportunities?

Liv-ex said its Champagne 50 index was down by 16% from a peak in October 2022, albeit it rose strongly prior to that and remains significantly above levels seen two years ago. 

This [recent] decline was a blessing for some, who seized the opportunity to acquire wines at sharp prices,’ Liv-ex said. The Champagne 50 ran flat in September.

There have been other reports from different trade sources of buyers being opportunistic in the right circumstances. 

Nick Pegna, global head of wine and spirits at Sotheby’s, told Decanter last week that its recent auction results showed buyers were still active in the right circumstances. ‘There are a lot of collectors who are waiting on the sidelines looking to pick up things that feel well-priced,’ he said. 

Some individual lots are still highly sought-after. Two telephone bidders battled to secure a three-bottle lot of Jacques Selosse, ‘Origine’ Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (non-vintage) Champagne at a Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction last week, Pegna said. It sold for HK$62,500, including buyer’s premium, versus a pre-sale high estimate of $20,000.

Sotheby’s is preparing to offer the first tranche of wines from the cellar of collector Pierre Chen. It plans to offer 25,000 of Chen’s bottles over the next 12 months, and said sales could hit $50m.

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