Italy: Storming ahead

By November 22, 2015Fine Wine Market, Italy, Regions

In August Italy overtook Burgundy to become the second most traded regional group of wines – after Bordeaux – so far in 2015. As of the end of October, its average monthly share (year to date) is 7.1%. This is a steady increase on previous years: in 2014, it represented 5.1% of activity by value. Back in 2010, it accounted for just 0.9%.

Although Italy’s relative importance on the secondary market can partly be accounted for by Bordeaux’s decline, activity for Italian wines has also been increasing in absolute terms: value traded so far in 2015 is already up 34% on last year’s total. In 2015 so far, 132 brands and 262 individual wines from 22 vintages have traded. Activity is dominated by the youngest wines: 80.1% of value traded has been for the 2009-12 vintages; less than 6% is from those older than 2006.

The table below shows the top ten Italian brands traded this year by value. All but one of these are from Tuscany, with popular Super Tuscan labels dominating. By far the most active is Sassicaia, which has been boosted by trade for its 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages. Brunello di Montalcino – which saw a flurry of activity for its acclaimed 2010 vintage towards the beginning of the year – is represented by Argiano. Just one label from Piemonte, which produces much lower volumes than Tuscany, features: Gaja, Sori San Lorenzo.

Italians traded

While Italy’s trade share has been growing, its benchmark index – the Italy 100 – has also been edging up: it has gained 22.4% over the past five years. (By way of comparison, the Bordeaux 500 Index has fallen 4.8% over the same period).

The chart below compares the relative performances of five Super Tuscan indices, which represent the price movements of their brands’ ten most recent physical vintages. Masseto has outperformed its peers over five years, gaining 56%. The more accessibly priced Tignanello has been the second best performer: it has climbed 40.2%. Only Solaia has lagged behind, falling 16.9%.