Mid-August Fine Wine Market Update

Geoffrey DeanAlthough many investors are away on holiday, it still seems pertinent to report on market movements in the summer lull. The good news is that, despite relatively low trading, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 continues to head north. Although it nudged upwards by a mere 0.1% in what was a quiet July, the graph has risen more steeply in the first half of August, with the index finishing at 347.98 at close of business on the 14th.

Liv-Ex 50 growth March to mid-August

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index resembled a sleepy, fireside labrador in July, effectively doing nothing (up 0.04%). But the broadest measure of the market, the Liv-ex 1000, actually rose 0.9% over the same period, with Bordeaux and Italy doing the front-running. The Bordeaux Legends 50, which includes quite a few older wines, spearheaded the advance, being up 2%, while the Italy 100 increased by 1.5%. The only sub-index to go down was the Rhone 100, which fell by half a per cent.

Bordeaux’s share of the market in July (76.4%) was its highest in any month in what has been a sluggish year for it. Burgundy fell slightly to 8.5%, while the United States increased to 2.3% thanks largely to trades in the 2012 vintage of Sine Que Non and Harlan Estate, as well as several Opus One vintages.

Lafite recorded more trades in July than anyone else – fifteen vintages of it being exchanged – with less heralded vintages like 2008, 2011 and 2014 the most numerous. Interestingly, the first growth’s second wine, Carruades Lafite, was the fifth most traded. Other big-hitters’ wines to be traded were Mouton Rothschild and Pontet Canet on the Left Bank, and Petrus and Pavie on the Right.

Petrus BottlesInterestingly, two St-Emilion estates, Canon and Figeac, along with Rauzan Segla in the Medoc, were the big climbers in Liv-ex’s league table of most-searched-for wines. The Champions League and Europa Cup spots – the top five in other words- were still occupied by the first growths, although there was some geographical variation among punters. 

The first growths were comfortably the most checked-out wines in both Britain and Asia (China notably), while the Americans tended to favour lower classed growths such as Pontet Canet, Cos d’Estournel and Lynch Bages.