Which are the most powerful wine investment brands in 2021?

Which have been the most powerful wine investment brands in 2021, during the most economically challenging and uncertain period for investors in the last decade? We look at which investment wine brands have shaped the market and delivered the strongest growth during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Liv-ex Power 100 2021 – key observations:

  • Top ten most powerful wine brands deliver average 1-year growth of 18.71%
  • Blue-chip Bordeaux and Burgundy reclaim wine investor focus
  • Burgundy’s Leroy ranked the most powerful brand for the third consecutive year
  • Lafite Rothschild ranked first for the volume and value of wine traded on Liv-ex
  • Record growth in trading levels on the secondary market in 2021
  • Most powerful fine wine brand delivers average growth of 39% in 12 months

Liv-ex Power 100 top 10 fine wine brands 2021

Fine Wine Brand Region 2021 2020 Av price growth in 12 months No. of wines traded
Leroy Burgundy 1 1 39% 129
Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux 2 11 16.87% 86
Armand Rousseau Burgundy 3 25 21.88% 101
Dom Perignon Champagne 4 7 22.11% 69
DRC Burgundy 5 21 19.5% 124
Mouton Rothschild Bordeaux 6 17 10.13% 75
Petrus Bordeaux 7 69 15.37% 49
Sassicaia Italy Tuscan 8 4 19.27% 37
Louis Roederer Champagne 9 10 14.05% 50
Margaux Bordeaux 10 22 8.96% 71

Source: Liv-ex Power 100 Report, 2021 (published 1st December 2021)

 The Power 100 2021 data is measured during the period 1st October 2020 to 30th September 2021, after the most extreme period of volatility in financial markets in the 1H 2020 but during levels of inflation. Brands are ranked from a list of the total 11,839 wines traded on Liv-ex during that period, which comprised 1,668 brands.

Power 100 ranking critieria:

To qualify for the ranking each brand had to have had a minimum of £10,000 traded and at least three individual wines or vintages. The brands were then ranked on:

  • price performance (year on year growth),
  • total trade by value
  • total trade by volume
  • average price of the brand’s wines

The 2021 Power 100 has recorded a market shift back to blue-chip investment wines during this period of extreme uncertainty. But it’s not as simple as seeking out safe-haven investments. Other political developments in the period also influenced the market. Fine wine was on the up post the malaise in 2019 when top Burgundy prices peaked and market momentum stalled. US Tariffs adding 20 percent margin to higher value investment wines were removed in March 2021 and  this further boosted growth. Across all Liv-ex regional benchmarks the fine wine market was seeing strong performance, which in September 2021 hit record levels.

How have investment wine brands performed in 2021 compared to 2020?

The fine wine market has seen the demand for blue-chip Burgundy and Bordeaux re-instated. Domaine Leroy has been ranked as the most powerful fine wine brand again for the third consecutive year. Burgundy and Champagne have been top performing regions throughout the period under review and between the two account for five of the top ten investment wine brands.

Average Price Growth of Top Ten Brands in 2021 compared to 2020:

Rank 2021 Wine Av Growth No of wines 2020 Wine Av Growth No of wines
1 Leroy 39% 129 Leroy 8.68% 55
2 Lafite Rothschild 16.87% 86 Leflaive 5.99% 81
3 Armand Rousseau 21.88% 101 Gaja 7.02% 65
4 Dom Perignon 22.11% 69 Sassicaia 9.31% 32
5 DRC 19.5% 124 Penfolds 3.27% 57
6 Mouton Rothschild 10.13% 75 Ornellaia 9.56% 34
7 Petrus 15.37% 49 Dom Perignon 3.73% 56
8 Sassicaia 19.27% 37 Ch. Haut Brion 1.34% 52
9 Louis Roederer 14.05% 50 Masseto 5.71% 23
10 Margaux 8.96% 71 Louis Roederer 2.21% 37

Source: Liv-ex Power 100 Reports 2021 and 2020

The change in average growth in price per brand is significant year on year. The table above takes the Top Ten data from the 2021 report and compares it with the 2020 Top Ten brands. Growth in nine of the ten top brands in 2021 is in double figures and in multiples more than that of the same brand year on year. Leroy’s average  price growth in 2021 at 39% is over four times the 8.68% rise in 2020.

The number of wines per brand traded on the secondary market also grew, looking again at Leroy, the leading brand saw this measure more than double from 55  in 2020 to 129  in 2021.

Regional investment wines highlights

Burgundy

Burgundy’s super-star brand, Domaine de la Romanee Conti (DRC), rose from 21st in 2020 to 5th in 2021 and, along with Leroy and Armand Rousseau, which rose from 25th to 3rd, make up a storming triumvirate of investment wine brands. DRC topped the Price Ranking with an average £43,831 case price on Liv-ex.

Top 5 Burgundy brands 2021: Leroy (1), Armand Rousseau (3), DRC (5), Leflaive (13), Sylvain Cathiard 

Bordeaux

Bordeaux has had a strong 12 months and three of the most powerful fine wine brands this year are First Growths. With Right Bank icon Petrus, Bordeaux accounts for four of the top ten brands. The region also benefited from the removal of the US Tariffs, but liquidity in the First Growths and brand profile are important attractions for investors. Chateau Lafite Rothschild romped back into the top ten to second place in the ranking from 2020’s 11th place. Mouton Rothschild and Margaux also regained their positions as front-runners to 6th and 10th in the Power 100 respectively.

Top 5 Bordeaux brands 2021: Lafite Rothschild (2), Mouton Rothschild (6), Petrus (7), Margaux (10), Figeac (12)

Champagne

Champagne has been the top performing region, vying with Burgundy at certain points in the year. Consistency is the name of Champagne’s game and power-house brands Dom Perignon and Louis Roederer both retain top ten positions in the 2021 ranking. Both rise in prominence year on year, the premier Monk’s brand moves up from 7th to 4th place and Cristal’s owner ascends the ranking one place from 10th to 9th. Krug is knocking on the door of the top ten brands this year listed at 11th.

Top 5 Champagne brands 2021: Dom Perignon (4), Louis Roederer (9), Krug (11), Taittinger (27), Salon (28)

Italy

2020 was all about Italy’s market grab and this was, in part, aided by the US buyers shift to Tuscany and Piedmont as the region remained exempt from Trump’s levy. The 2020 Power 100 edition listed four Italians in the top ten – a very significant market movement. In 2021, price performance has remained strong in Italian investment wines, but investor demand shifted focus back to more traditional markets. Sassicaia remains the most powerful Italian investment wine brand, but sees its ranking fall from 4th to 8th to be the only representation in the 2021 Top Ten.

Top 5 Italian brands 2021: Sassicaia (8), Gaja (19), Giacomo Conterno (23), Masseto (24), Comm, G B Burlotto (26)

Rest of the World

California was the key country from the RoW Liv-ex regional index. Although no US label made the top ten, largely due to very low supply and liquidity, Screaming Eagle was the US top performer and ranked 20th. New brands continue to enter the secondary market and Sine Qua Non was a debutante Top 100 US Power 100 entrant this year at 71.

Other information in the report included details on emerging brands from other regions showing outstanding performances. Domaine de la Grange des Peres from the Languedoc was the top price performer on Liv-ex in the period seeing 252% growth in average price.

Top 5 RoW brands 2021: Screaming Eagle (20), Opus One (43), Penfolds Grange (45), E. Guigal (57), Harlan Estate (67)

Conclusion

2021 has been the top performing year for wine investments on record. The Power 100 illustrates the brand demand and top performances of the staple blue-chip wine investments in 2021 and why it is important to include them in portfolio plans. The market saw a 17.5% rise in the total number of brands to 1,668 this year and a 29.5% rise in qualifying 421 producers from 325 in 2020. The most powerful fine wine brands have delivered strong growth throughout  the Covid era to date and are adding growth, stability and value to wine investors portfolios.

For more information see our Guide to Collecting and Investing in Fine Wine and contact our team on 0203 384 2262.