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Bordeaux 2019 as seen from space – a Saturnalia report

The team behind Saturnalia, at Ticinum Aerospace, wish to offer a different perspective on vineyards with the help of satellite data. They automatically collect, aggregate and process data with the aim of providing accurate early wine quality predictions, scores and price trends.

Below is a summary of their methodology and their Bordeaux 2019 harvest report, which Liv-ex members can access in full. For details, please email your Account Manager. For more information on how to obtain the report if you are not a Liv-ex member, click here.

According to the team, Bordeaux 2019 looks like a very-good-to-excellent vintage, with the best-performing regions being Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Pomerol.

To reach these conclusions, Saturnalia collects and analyses satellite images of vineyards throughout the growing season. They then use a proprietary algorithm that combines these images with weather data, vine growing periods and vigour estimate. The algorithm classifies the vineyards in terms of vigour, from very low to very high. High vigour is typically connected to lower quality. However, as there is no simple linear correlation between vigour and quality, the algorithm also takes into account other data, such as the amount of rain in different periods of the year, the amount of heat available for growth, diurnal temperature differences, aspect, altitude, etc.

To illustrate this in practice, Saturnalia provides the example of Margaux AOC. As the chart below shows, 63% of the region’s vineyards were classified as having ‘high’ vigour in 2019. By comparison, for the 2016 vintage in Margaux, 58% were classified as having high vigour. 2018 – considered a high-quality vintage, shows lower vigour, with 32% of the vineyards classified as medium, which also suggests higher ripeness and alcohol content. 2019 seems to be more classic in this respect, and more similar to 2016 in quality and style.

Saturnalia’s full 2019 harvest report includes detailed analysis of other Bordeaux’s appellations such as Pauillac, Saint Estephe, Pessac Leognan, St Julien, Pomerol and St Emilion.

Other than vintage reports, based on technology, Saturnalia provides scores and monthly updates on predicted price trends using Liv-ex data. Data shown are for illustration purposes only and do not provide investment advice.

Liv-ex members at Gold level or higher can purchase predictions from Saturnalia on the impact of the new vintage on price trends for wines already in the secondary market. The first time this service has been available in the market.