Regional performance data highlights wine investment value in Super Tuscans

The Super Tuscans are on the rise but with recent headlines generally focused on attention-grabbing Burgundy sales, Italy’s top wines are often over-looked. Liv-ex has recently published a report on Italian fine wines for its members in which it compares performance trends with the investment-grade ‘First Wines’ from other regions. It may come as a surprise to learn that Italy’s regional performance, in terms of growth in average value over the last two years, is ranked third to Burgundy and California, ahead of the key French appellations.

Regional ‘First Wine’ Performance:

Region No. of wines Average  price 2017 (£) Average price 2019 (£) Growth %
Burgundy Red 50 4,241 16,039 43
California 25 7,592 9,463 25
Italy (North) 20 3,283 4,003 22
Champagne 35 2,006 2.451 22
Australia 10 4,214 4,666 11
Northern Rhone 40 1,930 2,127 10
Bordeaux Right Bank 30 10,247 10,983 7
Bordeaux Left Bank 25 4,745 4,851 2
Spain 10 5,256 5,224 -1
Sauternes 25 932 833 -11

Source: Liv-ex Report: The Fine Wines of Italy: Past, Present and Future, September 2019

We strongly advocate that fine wine investors should diversify their portfolios by region to optimise growth performance with those fine wines with ageing ability and a strong secondary market. Looking at current performance trends, Italy’s investment-grade wines have to be of interest.

Italy’s share of secondary market trade on Liv-ex has more than doubled in the last five years and the Italy 100 benchmark has increased by 28.3 per cent in the three years since the Brexit Referendum vote.

Despite this growth, until 2019, Italian fine wines have underperformed the broader Liv-ex 1000 trend; this is not surprising given the Burgundy effect! However, this year, the Italy 100 has been the top performing Liv-ex index seeing +3 per cent growth YTD to the 31st August. Ornellaia Wine Bottles

The Super Tuscans (Masseto, Ornelllaia, Sassicaia, Solaia and Tignanello) and the top wines of Piedmont are the key drivers of this growth. With quality scores from international critics at similar levels to the foremost Burgundies and Bordeaux wines and large production levels, the Super Tuscans enjoy an active secondary market. Masseto is now one of the most successful and highly sought after Place de Bordeaux releases. Sassicaia has seen increased demand and over the past five years; the index which tracks its price performance has experienced 46 per cent growth.  In terms of an example of individual wine performance,  Sassicaia 2016, which was awarded 100 points by Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner, has appreciated 71 per cent since its release in February 2019 ( Tignanello has been the best performing Super Tuscan  over the last five years with its index up 52 per cent since 2014.

Piedmont’s most sought after fine wines have experienced significant price growth recently and a 40 per cent increase in trade on Liv-ex in 2019. Similar to top Burgundy, the wines of this region are made from a single grape type, the Nebbiolo grape (Pinot Noir in Burgundy), and production levels are much lower than the Super Tuscans. Nine of the top ten Italian price performers this year so far are from this region. Examples include Gaja Barbaresco 2011, which has seen 39 per cent growth, and Giacomo Conterno’s Barolo Cascina Francia, up 19 per cent in 2019 to date. Piedmont’s lower production levels mean that the secondary market is less established but increasing growth in demand suggests that this is a region to monitor closely.

The expert critics to follow for a view on the quality of the top Italian fine wines are Antonio Galloni and the Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner. The Super Tuscans and premier Piedmont wines certainly offer a lower financial entry point into the fine wine market and an excellent opportunity to diversify a fine wine portfolio at a time when Italy is enjoying global recognition as one of the premier fine wine producing countries.

For more information on investing in Italian fine wine contact us now on 0203 384 2262.