On the grapevine: fine wine market latest news

  • Liv-ex’s latest market data includes top performing wines and influencing factors for 2020
  • US considering 100% tariffs on all EU wines – decision imminent
  • Australia’s bush fires claim over 1% of vineyards so far
  • Janvier Sec? – Non merci! – France’s lack lustre appetite for January abstinence
  • Bonhams publish first fine wine auction numbers for 2019
  • Jay-Z and Beyonce toast the Golden Globe awards with their Ace of Spades Champagne
  • Which are the world’s most powerful fine wine brands at the start of 2020?

We round-up the latest news and events in the fine wine market for you below:

Latest Liv-ex Data: 

Liv-ex published its January trade report which included performance data for 2019 including the top performing wines in the last month of the decade. Last year’s industry challenges largely influenced by Brexit and the 25% US Tariffs which came into effect in October suppressed the market. Furthermore, we are now waiting for the imminent decision on whether Trump will expand the October tariff to 100% and apply it to all EU wines – where sparkling and Italian are currently exempt. This could have a significant effect and intense lobbying against this drastic measure is currently taking – we will update as soon as any information is published.

Liv-ex reported a record year in terms of the number of wines traded on the exchange in 2019 and December saw an average £61.5M daily exposure. The key Liv-ex 100 benchmark reflected a tough twelve months and ended the year 3% down whilst top performing indices illustrated the positive trends in Champagne and Italian wines, their performance positively influenced by exemption from the US Tariffs imposed in the Autumn. The Liv-ex Champagne 50 recorded 2.2% growth and Italy 100 saw an uplift of 4.7% over the 12 months of 2019.

Read more about US Tariffs

Australia’s vineyards affected by catastrophic bush fires

Australia’s bush fires are creating some of the most distressing images we have ever seen in the media. So far over 10.3million hecatares of land, 27 known fatalities and over 0.5 billion animals have been killed. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed that 2019 was the driest and hottest year on record for the country and the results speak for themselves. News commentary has stated that the majority of new fires were started by lightening striking tinder dry land. 

The wine region has been impacted with over 1,500 hectares (about 1% of total vineyard area) lost, primarily in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia. Growers there have had about 1,100 hectares affected with a third of the vines succumbing to the flames. New South Wales is also under threat and King Valley, Victoria was evacuated in the week.

The industry has responded with fund-raising efforts to raise money for the victims.

Read more about industry fundraising

Macron supports French wine industry with lack-lustre ‘Dry January’ 

The French have embarked on a first Dry January campaign with mixed emotions. The initiative is being promoted by health professionals, but French influencers including top Chefs, restauranteurs and politicians have fought against ‘Anglo Saxon abstinence’. Perhaps, you can argue they have more commercially at stake than the UK to encourage the mass rejection of a key component of the French economy for one twelfth of the year. Rather they insist that ‘drink in moderation’ is the prevailing mantra and don’t upset the apple cart!

Read more about France’s first Dry January

Bonham’s report £16million fine wine sales for 2019.

Bonham’s published their 2019 figures early January which disclosed fine wine and spirit sales of £16million generated from five fine and rare wine sales across the year in London, two in HK and four whisky sales held in HK and Edinburgh across the year.

Head of Wine at Bonhams, Richard Harvey MW stated that “eye-catching results were underpinned by strong performance across the field”.  Highlight wine sales included a DRC, 1988 Romanee-Conti (12 x 75cl) case which sold for £241,369 and a second DRC collection for £225,000. A Macallan 60 year old 1926 bottle adorned with a Peter Blake label, was a stand-out sale in March 2019, raising £615,063. Bonhams was acquired by private equity group Epiris in 2018.

Read more: Bonham’s 2019 sales

Jay-Z and Beyoncé share their bubbles with the stars!

Jay-Z and Beyoncé toasted the recent Golden Globes awards with their Ace of Spades Champagne, reportedly shared with Hollywood stars Jennifer Anniston and Reece Witherspoon. Jay Z entered a lucrative partnership with Armand de Brignac Champagne in 2014 following a hip-hop move away from Cristal. The commercially canny music superstar was one of the first high profile celebrities to join forces with a drinks label.

Read more: Beyoncé’s Champagne

Which are the world’s most powerful fine wine brands at the start of 2020?

Liv-ex published its annual review of the most highly traded fine wine brands on the exchange in conjunction with The Drinks Business magazine. This year’s top ten reflects increased levels of trade for Burgundy with the top three brands from the region, Champagne and Italian wines in the period under review, however the first growths still remain the most highly traded in terms of value on Liv-ex with Lafite Rothschild accounting for 8.24% of the total trade value on the exchange between 01.09.2018 and 31.08.2019.

Read more – Liv-ex most powerful fine wine brands 2019

For more information on the fine wine market get our Guide to Collecting and Investing in Fine Wine. Call us now to discuss any recent news and events that may provide good buying opportunities on 0203 384 2262.