#LXisXX: celebrating twenty years in the fine wine market

By February 18, 2020Fine Wine Market, LWIN

2020 is a special year for Liv-ex. It marks our 20th birthday – twenty years of the web-based, real time fine wine market.

Our mission has not changed since the start: to help merchants grow by making the wine market “transparent, efficient and safe”. But plenty has. Our membership has grown from ten UK merchants to almost 500 merchants globally, and our staff to over 50 – with expertise in various areas including data, technology, logistics, sales and marketing.

James Miles and Justin Gibbs

Justin Gibbs and James Miles in 2005

The first trade on Liv-ex took place in June 2000 when a case of Gruaud Larose 1982 sold for £964. In the twenty years since, we have handled hundreds of thousands of transactions between our members across 44 countries worldwide.

Gruaud Larose 1982 trades on Liv-ex

Our indices have tracked the prices of the most traded fine wines on the market since 2004, with the Liv-ex 50 and Liv-ex 100 used as benchmarks by Bloomberg and Reuters. Our London warehouse has been streamlining the settlement of trades since 2007, and our operations have expanded across Europe, US and Asia too.

Our Market Report has been published every month since 2005 and our blog has provided independent market analysis since 2008, the same year in which the first Liv-ex Power 100 list was produced. The first Liv-ex Classification followed in 2009, ranking the wines of Bordeaux on the basis of price; the latest was released in July 2019 and included 349 wines from nine countries.

The wine market has become deeper and broader – long gone are the days in which Bordeaux took 95% of the trade share. Today Liv-ex members are active across 20,000 wines from over 30 regions. As Liv-ex’s co-founder Justin Gibbs recently expressed in an interview with Meininger’s Weinwirtschaft, one of the most interesting developments in the fine wine market has “without doubt” been its “broadening”.

The full launch of Liv-ex’s automation program in 2019 has played a key part in this expansion of the market: wines from regions that have not traditionally found a secondary market are much more likely to trade via automation. But it is the award-winning LWIN – the free, universal wine identifier – which we introduced in 2011, that has proved fundamental to the development of the market. While being the bedrock upon which Wine Matcher and other automation services are built, its adoption by merchants, warehouse providers and critics has allowed for the smooth and rapid dissemination of information, saving enormous time and cost while eliminating errors.

Automation Liv-ex

Combining data and technology, numbers and words, wine and market knowledge, we now provide the world’s largest marketplace for wine – with over £70m opportunities across 11,000 different products. None of this would be possible without the continued support of our members, for which we are extremely grateful.

The world has changed a lot over the past 20 years in the context of rapidly developing technology, geopolitical challenges and climate change. The world of wine has changed with it: new and emerging regions of production, increasing and expanded demand, and a more diverse critical landscape. Throughout 2020, we are going to celebrate the exciting world of wine, and our part in it over the last twenty years. Look out for #LXisXX which will spread the word on our social media channels.

And follow us for future updates – from the heart of the fine wine market.

What’s the future of wine trading? Find out in our latest special report.