On April 28 in New York, Sotheby’s will host an auction of 3,000 bottles of wine expected to fetch up to $2 million. The star of the show: the 1947 vintage of Cheval Blanc, one of the most revered of the Bordeaux wines. A single bottle may sell for $10,000 to $15,000, while a magnum could go for $50,000.
Wine collectors will be watching. Although fine wine prices have retreated from their peak in the fall of 2011, long-term performance has been impressive. The Liv-ex Fine Wine Investables index, which tracks around 200 wines from 24 top Bordeaux chateaux, has climbed from under 25 in 1989 to about 300 in 2012.
While few people may trade in this rarified market, many high-net-worth families and individuals possess significant wine collections. ACE’s research on passionate investing among wealthy households found that one third said they were serious collectors, and another third said they were wine hobbyists or enthusiasts. In addition, 75% said they considered the investment diversification value of their collections an important factor in their purchases.