After several years of moving higher fine wine prices have fallen in 2012. The table shows the year-to-date, one-year and five-year changes in the London-based Liv-ex indexes through Sept. 30, 2012.
The Liv-ex indexes’ component wines are showing a general trend toward lower prices after a mid-2011 peak.
Jack Hibberd, head of data and marketing at Liv-ex in London, cites several reasons for the pullback. Up until the middle of last year, the market remained fairly bullish, he explains, but a very expensive campaign for the 2010 Bordeaux signaled the start of the downturn. Prices were unrealistic; consequently, the wines didn’t sell very well and Hibberd believes that “really took a bit of momentum out of the sales.”
At the same time, the European Union’s debt crisis was unfolding and demand from Chinese buyers began to soften. aa
The China factor was vital, says Hibberd: “The Chinese market has been extremely important in fine wine demand. As with a lot of luxury goods, the Chinese market slowed down considerably probably from the latter half of last year till now. And now as the price has been up by a factor of two or three over the last few years, we saw people taking profit. That then moved into a correction, and then probably moved into a bit more of a serious correction.”
With prices off from their peaks, is this a good time for fine-wine collectors to start buying again?
Hibberd cautions that Liv-ex does not offer wine-trading advice but notes that the market has been relatively static and flat for the past eight weeks or so. “It seems like for now that most traders believe that the correction is at least paused if not over,” he says.
Jamie Ritchie (above), CEO and president, Americas and Asia, for Sotheby’s Wine is also cautiously optimistic. “I think there is an opportunity. We are still getting strong pricing for top Burgundy for, let’s say, the top 10 growers,” he says.