February 25, 2013

Bordeaux Is Back, Bumping Up Wine Index

The Liv-ex Fine Wine Index has recovered from its November lows, thanks to buyers from China

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index hit 318.95 on Friday, a day after 97% of top Bordeaux was sold at a $1.5 million wine auction in London, according to a Bloomberg report.

The index, which tracks trading in the 10 most-recent vintages of Bordeaux’s five first-growths had fallen to a two-and-a-half-year low of 296.77 in November. It went slightly below the 300 mark starting in July but moved to 302.22 in December.

At Christie’s International on Thursday, a French wine trader bid 34,500 pounds ($52,622) for a 12-bottle case of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1982. This topped 32,200 pounds that a bidder paid for a case of Lafite ’82 at an auction run by Sotheby’s last January.

The global market for top clarets is improving, at least in part, thanks to buying from China, Bloomberg reports. This demand weakened about 12 months ago..

Overall, the Christie’s sale of 408 lots raised more than 960,500 pounds with fees on Thursday —topping an estimate of about 904,100 pounds.

As for champagne, last week’s auction wasn’t one to celebrate. A case of six bottles of Moet & Chandon’s historic 1911 champagne—estimated at 30,000-40,000 pounds—failed to sell, the news service said.

Christie’s, however, was most likely pleased with the overall auction’s results, which were up about 10% from last year.

In other wine-related news, the co-founders of Nobles Crus, a Luxembourg-based wine fund, have been staunchly defending how the wine in its portfolio is valued, according to a report in Sunday’s Financial Times.

The fund had returns of 13.4% return in 2010, 11.3% in 2011; and an 8% return last year, “despite meeting millions of euros in redemptions,” the newspaper explained. (The redemptions were reportedly tied to online and other discussions about the fund’s valuation methods.)

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