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Wine and whisky toppled by designer handbags as top luxury investment – report

The fine wine market registered growth of just 1% in 2019 as the world's wealthy snapped up Hermès handbags instead...

The ‘collectible handbags’ category has topped the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) knocking rare whisky from the number one spot, while growth in fine wine investment has slowed.

Designer handbag values have risen in value by 13% over the past year, with the fine wine market registering growth of just 1% over the same period, according to the results of the Luxury Investment Index compiled by estate agency Knight Frank

Political unrest and economic uncertainty are blamed for the slowing of the fine wine investment market, said Nick Martin, founder & executive director of online wine trading community Wine Owners.

‘Bordeaux fell by 3.6%, while the top of the Burgundy market reached new peaks early in the year before falling away,’ said Martin.

There are reasons to be positive, however. ‘At the level below the most sought-after Burgundies, the best wines enjoyed relatively strong demand and Champagne and northern Italian wines were up 6%–8%. The bigger picture is positive, too: despite a lacklustre 2019, The Knight Frank Fine Wine Icons Index has risen by 120% in the last decade,’ added Martin.

Last year, a 12-bottle case of Domaine de la Romanée Conti 1990 fetched HK$2.7 million at Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong, which itself broke the record for a private owner collection, fetching US$30 million. Domaine de la Romanée Conti was top of the best selling wine names for Sotheby’s in 2019. 

Scotch over-supply

Looking at whisky, ‘significant over-supply and a softening in values for the market leader The Macallan made for a challenging start to the year,’ said Andy Simpson from Rare Whisky 101 in the Knight Frank report.

‘As supply eased, the second half of 2019 fared much better, and the Index finished the year up 5%. Significant trends included the emergence of challenger brands in the secondary market, and growing interest in sherried Scotch,’ he continued.

Other notable objects of desire which featured in the report included the black Fender Stratocaster guitar played by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour which sold at a Christie’s auction for almost £4m last year and a stainless steel sculpture of a rabbit by American artist Jeff Koons, which fetched US$91.1m.

Fine wine price growth outstrips watches, cars and jewellery in 2018

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