Which top wine brand is seeing its investor appeal and returns grow in 2021?

In a buoyant market, which investment wine brands are demanding investor attention and seeing the strongest growth? Data from Liv-ex shows that Lafite Rothschild has been the power-house label so far in 2021. Blue-chip Bordeaux is leading market searches and trade, demonstrating its ‘liquid appeal’ to wine investors.

CHATEAU LAFITE ROTHSCHILD – KEY FACTS:

  • Lafite is the leading First Growth price performer in 2021
  • Lafite Rothschild 2018 is the most traded wine by value and second by volume on Liv-ex
  • The average Lafite case price (12 x 75cl) has risen to over £7,000
  • Lafite commands a premium to other First Growths’ average price of £5,000
  • 2021 Trade in Lafite wines is double levels in 2020
  • Liv-ex Fine Wine 50* is returning to former record levels of 2011 (* Liv-ex 50 records the performance of the last ten physical vintages of the five First Growths)

Data source: Liv-ex.com, 31.10. 2021

Blue-chip investment wines

Blue-chip Bordeaux is leading trade searches and activity on the secondary market. The Bordeaux First Growths can be described as ‘foundation stocks’ when structuring a wine investment portfolio. They provide strength and liquidity due to consistent excellent quality, higher production levels (supply) compared to Burgundy and California’s investment wines, along with robust levels of demand and trade in the market.

Lafite Rothschild is the ‘big dog’ in the elite group of the five Bordeaux First Growths and this has been apparent in 2021. Based on Liv-ex, analysis, seven of the top ten most ‘searched for’ wines by trade members YTD (31.10.2021) have been Lafite vintages.

The most traded wine on Liv-ex in 2021

The 100-point Lafite Rothschild 2018 (Wine Advocate) is the most traded wine by value on Liv-ex and has seen consistently high demand throughout the year to 31st October 2021. The 2016 and 2017 vintages are the next most traded Lafite vintages with 2017’s price rising 33% this year and it is still the most affordable Lafite.

Price Performance

Lafite’s position as the leading First Growth price performer in 2021 demonstrates the powerful investor appeal of the brand as its average quality score is not the highest of the five.

Lafite average price and score compared to the other First Growths:

FIRST GROWTH Av Price (12 x 75cl) Neal Martin Average Score
Lafite Rothschild £7,241 95
Haut Brion £4,584 96
Latour £6,236 96
Margaux £5,544 95
Mouton Rothschild £5,188 96

Source: Liv-ex.com * last ten physical vintages (2009 – 2018)

A decade ago, at the peak of the 2010 prices in the China-driven ‘bull market’, Lafite was trading at an average 129% premium to its fellow First Growths, having been key to the collective rise in values. However, when the market fell, Lafite was at the front-end of the descent. The recovery for the First Growths has been long and drawn out as the market has broadened and established investment wines in Burgundy, Champagne, Rhone, Tuscany, Piedmont, California and a few others. But its back!

Chateau Lafite

The strong market performance over the last 20 months has seen Bordeaux investment wines recover values to the pre-2011 levels and to do so in a sustainable way. Bordeaux no longer monopolises the market. Its share of trade has moved from over 90% in 2011 to an average 35 – 40% of value traded on Liv-ex in 2021. In fact, this is a strongly diversified and more stable market as a result. The demand for Bordeaux has not diminished, rather the growth in the wines of other regions has seen Bordeaux’s influence over the market soften to be much more manageable for investors.

Lafite in 2021!

In this process Lafite’s premium is being re-established. In the last twenty vintages only four First Growth wines are currently trading higher than their Lafite counterpart (November 2021). These are all ‘special-edition’ wines  – Mouton Rothschild 2000’s commemorative bottle featuring the gold-embossed Augsberg Ram, Latour’s perfect 100-points 2009 and 2010 vintages, and Margaux 2015, commemorating its bicentenary year and the last vintage of the great wine-maker, Paul Pontalier.

At the end of Q3, 2021, Lafite wines accounted for 7.5% of all trade on Liv-ex YTD (31.10.21) and had doubled the 2020 levels of trade in the label. A stalwart wine investment and truly one of the greats, we would argue as mainstream as wine investment gets and a key brand for every wine investor to consider.

For more information on the latest investment wine performance data, see our November Market Update and speak to us on 0203 384 2262.