Is the Wine Market Looking Up Or Down? (via AsiaTatler.com)
June 8th, 2012
The international fine wine market has recorded a drop of nearly 20% in the past year – mostly occurred between July 2011 and January 2012, according to Liv-ex (www.liv-ex.com). For investors, the good news is that Liv-ex 100, the market barometer, was flat in April, possibly signaling that the market has bottomed. The results of recent auctions reveal that buyers in Hong Kong are becoming both more discriminating and more adventurous.
Demand remains strong for older bordeaux vintages which can be hard to find elsewhere; younger vintages which are readily available no longer attract the level of attention that drove the market to such heights this time last year. At the same time collectors are paying higher prices not just for the wines of Burgundy, but also Champagne, the Rhône Valley, select regions in Italy and, more recently, California.
For collectors, the prices of vintage champagne and even Californian ‘cult wines’ still look positively modest next to the first growths from Bordeaux. Sotheby’s Hong Kong recently sold 12 bottles of Cristal Brut 1990, with a final price including commission of about HK$58,242 (US$7,500). Cristal is the prestige cuvee of Louis Roederer, first produced in 1867 for Tsar Alexander of Russia and 1990 is a fabulous year for champagne.
Colgin, one of the most sought after wines from Napa Valley with very limited production had several lots in the same auction. Six bottles of the Colgin IX 2005, sold for the equivalent of about HK$36,498 (US$4,700). This wine is a ‘bordeaux blend’ with around 70% cabernet sauvignon, the remainder merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. Typically only 1,200 to 1,500 cases are produced a year. In the same auction, 12 bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild 1996 sold for about HK$145,993 (US$18,800).
Whether the market has bottomed or not may depend on external factors but the first growths of bordeaux still command the highest prices and the lion’s share of the market.
We tried a bottle of 100-point cult wine from California that is named "Dangerous Birds".