The malaise in the fine-wine market could ease this year with the world’s wealthiest individuals planning to increase their investment spending in this sector, according to a survey by U.K real estate firm Knight Frank.
The 2013 Wealth Report surveyed 400 private bankers and wealth advisers around the world to give an insight into the attitudes of high net worth clients to a range of investments, including alternative or “passion” investments such as wine, fine art and watches.
The survey not only discovered that wine is the third most popular passion investment, but also revealed that the world’s rich-listers are looking to increase their spending on wine in 2013. Wealthy Asian individuals are particularly interested in fine-wine investment. Of those questioned, only the Russians and Americans were planning on reducing their liquid assets in the coming year.
However, fine-wine merchants are still unlikely to have Champagne on ice. The industry’s fine-wine benchmark, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100, endured significant losses over the last two years, falling 14 percent in 2011 and almost 9 percent in 2012.
Nevertheless, Andrew della Casa, director of The Wine Investment Fund, is optimistic about the fine-wine market’s prospects in the year ahead. He told the Wealth Report that the dip in the Liv-ex 100 during 2012 was mainly due to Asian collectors diversifying their wine collections.
“The biggest constituent in the index – and its biggest faller – was Chateau Lafite [Rothschild]," he said. "It was the brand of choice for Chinese buyers, and they and other buyers drove prices up, creating a bubble. Now they have broadened their palates, the market has over-corrected and we see this as a good buying opportunity."
Indeed, the new year has started brightly for fine wines, with the Liv-ex 100 index posting small gains in both January and February.
The latest Wealth Report from Knight Frank reveals that alternative investments, including wine, still account for just 4 percent of wealthy investors' portfolios, whereas property, equities and corporate bonds represent more than half of their assets.
The survey covered 80 countries and is said to represent 15,000 high net worth individuals, each worth $65 million on average.