Which fine wines are the winners in a challenging market in January 2020

Liv-ex has reported its headline numbers and top performing fine wines for the first month of 2020 with a performance influenced by environmental conditions much as they were in Q4 last year, but now with the added impact of Coronavirus. Of course, these factors don’t exclusively impact the fine wine market and global trade tiffs, Brexit uncertainty and a potential pandemic, are just a few of the significant issues casting their shadows across sectors and economies around the world.

January trade on Liv-ex meanwhile rose by 40 percent in value as the year got underway, despite Dry January! The Liv-ex 100 benchmark (measuring the 100 most actively traded wines on the market) did, however, reflect the challenging conditions closing the month nearly flat at -0.22% down on December 2019. With key buyers in the UK sat on their hands in January because of Brexit, and China ground to a halt, this is not at all surprising.

However, there are still winners! Again demonstrating the importance of monitoring demand in the market and selecting key wines with relatively robust trade in the secondary market. Trends will come and go but blue-chip wines such as regional ‘first growths’ can weather the storms over time, as shown in the table.

Top performing fine wines on Liv-ex (by value) in January 2020:

Wine Vintage Region Dec. 2019 Jan. 2020 Growth
DRC Tache 2015 Burgundy £38,315 £41,731 8.9%
Vega Sicilia Unico 2009 Spain £2,190 £2,300 5%
Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 USA £24,942 £26,000 4.2%
Mouton Rothschild 2000 Bordeaux 17,490 18,200 4.1%
Ravenau, Chablis Montee Tonnerre 2016 Burgundy 1,826 1,896 3.9%

Source: Liv-ex.com, 4th February 2020 

Interestingly, Liv-ex reports on the volatility being observed in some wines, for example DRC Tache 2015 and Mouton Rothschild 2000, which have regained all price loss experienced over the last three months since the US 25% Trade Tariff was put in place. Meanwhile, the fashionable Dom Perignon 2009 and Barolo 2014 suffered short term losses in January. It certainly pays to have the finger on the pulse at the minute as there are opportunities to pick up the odd unexpected bargain!

Other areas of good performance included the Bordeaux Right Bank with Petrus in demand in January – both the 2005 and 2006 vintages were ranked in the top 5 wines in terms of value of trade on Liv-ex in the last week of January 2020. Petrus’ price tags of course are an advantage when measuring value share, the 2006 (Neal Martin 96 points) vintage trading at £22,950 and prime vintage 2005 (98 points NM) at a £10K premium of £33,000. Obviously, the quality score has an influence but 2005 also bestows the cachet of an exceptional prime Bordeaux vintage. Additional wines enjoying good demand in the last week of January included fellow Pomerol icon, Le Pin 2016 and Californian Big Gun, Opus One 2016 – which could be a result of the trade tariffs making US wines more attractive to buyers in the States.

For more information on which wines to be investing in, in 2020, contact the Vin-X team now on 0203 384 2262.