The fine wine investment market has boomed in 2021. Contrary to the expectations of many, who thought the combination of the pandemic and resulting global recession would see the market slow, it’s actually risen. According to the latest reports from Liv-Ex, their Fine Wine 1000 Index grew 1% in March, continuing a 7-month run of growth that has meant it has reached its highest ever level. At the end of March, it stood at 365, beating the previous record set in November 2018.
Some market watchers have ascribed this phenomenal growth to investors’ fears over the stock market and to weaknesses in some of the commodities markets. Gold, for example, has dropped from its 12-month high of £1569 per gram to £1284. Then there’s the record low interest rates, worries about a boom and bust property market and uncertainty over the US economy given its problems in controlling the coronavirus. Whatever the reasons, at present the fine wine market is flying and 2021 could prove a good year to invest in the finest and rarest.
While we’ve seen soaring fine wine markets in the past – we remember the Asian-driven explosion of the mid-1990s and the China-fuelled Lafite Rothschild price explosion of the early 2000s well – this is something different. Traditionally these rises have been driven by demand for top Bordeaux such as Latour, Petrus, Château Margaux and Mouton Rothschild and, more recently, for the finest Burgundies from the likes of Domaine de la Romanee Conti, Leroy and Rousseau. This time, however, we’ve seen a new range of players come to the market and top producers from the Rhône, Champagne, Italy and Australia have caught the eye of investors and collectors.
In this latest blog from MWH Wine, the home of affordable fine wine, we’ll look at some of these new players and offer our recommendations as to wines that may be worth looking into. Diverse as this list is in terms of styles and origins, there’s one thing that unites them: the wines that are really taking flight are physical bottles from historic vintages. The sublime red Bordeaux from 2009 and 2010, for example, have seen real movement over the past few months. Many of the wines are coming into their (rather long) drinking windows and critics and collectors are being reminded of their immense quality.
Vintage Champagne has always had a mystique about it. The fact that its only made in the finest of years and that production is significantly smaller than for non-vintage wines has given it a certain cachet. In terms of investment potential, it’s never really set the world alight. Yes; the super-rare cuvees such as Bollinger’s Vielle Vignes Francaise, Krug’s Clos de Mesnil and Clos d’Ambonnay and Salon have been sought after, but in the main this has been a wine for drinking rather than investing. That though has changed. With the arrival of wines from sublime vintages such as 2002, 2008 and 2012, investors have taken notice and this has become a wine that can pay dividends. In terms of individual wines, the following are well worth considering:
- Cristal Rosé
- Bollinger Vielles Vignes
- Krug (vintage and single vineyard)
- Dom Perignon
- Dom Perignon Rosé
- Jacques Selosse
- La Grande Dame
- Dom Perignon P2
Italy is home to some of the world’s greatest wines, but unlike Bordeaux or Burgundy the market for the finest and rarest has always been tightly segmented. Fans of the likes of Giacomo Conterno, Sandrone or Mascerello will pay thousands for cases of their top wines, but in the investment market they have remained less attractive than wines from Burgundy or Bordeaux.
That though is changing and the best wines from Itay’s multitude of wine regions are becoming sought after in the investment world. A lot of the credit for this is laid at the cellar door of wines such as Masetto, Sassicaia and Solaia, and while these ‘new’ wines certainly rank on the Liv-Ex list, many other established names are up there too:
- Giacomo Conterno
Like most members of the trade we’ve always been massive fans of the wines of the Rhône. The diversity is astonishing, the quality often peerless and the consistency arguably higher than any other French wine region with the possibility exception of the Loire. Curiously, with the notable exceptions of wines like Rayas, Guigal’s single vineyard Cote Rotie and certain Hermitage producers, the wines have never been considered in the investment category. That’s changing. Perhaps spurred by the phenomenal growth in its northern neighbour’s fortunes, the Rhône’s finest are now hot properties. The following offers a selection of wines and producers that are, at the time of writing, flying:
- Chave Hermitage Cuvee Cathellin
- Guigal La Mouline, La Turque and La Mouline
- Beaucastel Hommage Jacques Perin
- Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon
- August Clape Cornas
- Pegau Inspiration
- Henri Bonneau Reserve des Celestins
- Juge Cornas
- Jaboulet La Chapelle
There have been cult Australian wines that have fetched consistently high prices for years. Grange, Hill of Grace, Astralis and Torbreck’s The Laird have always been pricey. Expensive doesn’t mean investment though. These wines, with the possible exception of Grace, were created as trophy wines and while expensive on release they haven’t necessarily flown up in value. That seems to be changing and critics’ praise seems to be reaching investors’ ears. This will be an interesting area to watch. Australian wineries – like the Californian ones – have been savvy marketers and they are likely to welcome investors’ interest and drive release prices higher.
- Penfolds’ Grange, 620 and 707
- Ringland Dry Grown Shiraz
- Torbreck The Laird, RunRig
- Henschke Hill of Grace
- Greenock Creek
- Two Hands My Hands
We hope you’ve found this blog on wine investment in 2021 to be of interest, if you would like some individual advice then please do get in touch by calling Mike on 0118 984 4654 or by emailing MWH Wines here. A recognised authority on wine, he’ll be happy to advise you on which wine is right for you.