Fine-wine trading in 2013 started with a flurry and there was widespread optimism that the market was going to rally after two difficult years. But it was not to be: the London-based fine-wine trading platform, Liv-ex, has this week reported a decline in the Lix-ex 100 – widely seen as a benchmark for fine-wine prices – for the third year in a row.
The trading pattern over the last 12 months has followed a similar trajectory to 2011 and 2012. Liv-ex’s report for 2013 shows that early optimism in the first part of the year was replaced by pessimism, which the company's analysts claim was a result of “a mispriced en primeur campaign.”
In addition to the release of overpriced Bordeaux 2012 wines, Justin Gibbs, co-founder and sales director of Liv-ex, told Wine-Searcher there were other factors in the decline of the fine-wine market. "There was continued hesitance in the market and large volumes of 2010, 2011 and 2012 were 'dumped' at below-release prices," he said.
"Lots of stock in China and Hong Kong has not found an end user, and the impact of the suspension of Noble Crus [a Luxembourg-based wine investment scheme] added to the dilemma. But the decline was largely felt by Left Bank Bordeaux; most other indices are up."
Wine merchants’ confidence in the early part of the year also proved to be misplaced. A survey found traders expected the index to rise by more than 10 percent over the course of 2012; instead, it fell from 260 points to 258.
All the evidence from the year’s wine auctions and the latest Liv-ex report show that fine-wine collectors, particularly in the Far East, have become more adventurous in their wine purchases.
Forget Lafite – Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Henri Jayer and Pomerol’s Petrus have been this year’s must-haves for the wealthiest collectors. While Bordeaux wines remain the most-traded, accounting for 82.5 percent of the market, that’s a marked fall from 2010, when the region represented a whopping 92.5 percent of market trade by value.
Burgundy and Italy have taken up the slack, with their share of the fine-wine market rising from 1.2 percent and 0.9 percent respectively in 2010, to 6.8 percent and 3.3 percent in 2013.
While Gibbs declined to speculate on whether the market would diversify further in 2014, he added: "If the market sees another poorly-priced en primeur campaign then consumers will continue to look elsewhere for value."
The 10 Biggest Movers in 2013
|Wine||Dec 2012||Nov 2013||Change|
|2006 Masseto||£4,279 / $7,002||£6,182 / $10,116||+ 44.5%|
|2001 Angélus||£1,866 / $2,053||£2,493 / $4,079||+ 33.6%|
|2001 Pavie||£1,430 / $2,340||£1,900 / $3,109||+ 32.9%|
|2002 Pavie||£1,403 / $2,295||£1,843 / $3,105||+ 31.4%|
|2002 Masseto||£3,272 / $5,354||£4,290 / $7,020||+ 31.1%|
|2001 Clos Fourtet||£513 / $839||£617 / $1,009||+ 30.8%|
|2006 Petit Mouton||£1,034 / $1,692||£1,318 / $2,156||+ 27.5%|
|2004 Pavie||£1,374 / $2,248||£1,740 / $2,847||+ 26.6%|
|2006 Fleur Petrus||£1,032 / $1,688||£1,304 / $2,133||+ 26.4%|
|2007 Petit Mouton||£916 / $1,498||£1,150 / $1,881||+ 25.5%|