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Talking Trade – Amid global Covid-19 uncertainty fine wine offers stability

Global equities have taken a severe hit this past week as Covid-19 has continued to spread globally. With every small piece of fresh news adding to the uncertainty, finding calm waters has been challenge. But as you can see in the chart above, fine wine has been almost boringly stable.

With a low correlation to equity markets, fine wine moves at a glacial pace and is generally influenced by two long term economic fundamentals – namely supply and demand. Over the past three months, wine prices have drifted, due to factors both internal (wine tariffs) and external (Covid-19), but there has been scant evidence of panic selling. Indeed, long term buyers are emerging to hunt for any bargains that might appear.

Regional share of trade by value (6th March - 12th March)

Trade volumes have remained steady but Bordeaux (57.3%) has seen its share of trade grow, taking over 50% for the first time since late January. 2016 has recently been the most traded vintage for Bordeaux but this week was led by the great vintages of 2010, 2009, and 2005.

Burgundy (12.2%), Champagne (5.3%), Italy (12.3%) and the USA’s (3.5%) shares of trade all drifted from the week prior.

Rhone (2.5%) maintained its share while the Others category (6.9%) was led by Germany, where decent volumes of topflight Riesling producer, Weingut Keller, changed hands.

Top 5: share of trade by value (6th March - 12th March)

Giacomo Conterno, Barolo Riserva Monfortino 2013, was not only the top traded wine of the week but is also the top traded wine year to date. Antonio Galloni recently awarded it 99 points saying, “readers will find a biting, vibrant Monfortino built along super classic lines that includes vintages like 1996 and 1999”. The 2013 sits comfortably between the 100-point 2010 (£12,780) and 97-point 2008 (£7,200).

Bordeaux dominates the rest of the table with Carmes Haut Brion 2015 leading the charge. Not only is it the cheapest of the bunch, but Carmes Haut Brion 2015 is also one of the top performers: having released in London at £480 per 12×75, the wine has risen 114% since.

Le Pin 2009 has also been a strong performer, and although it carries a much loftier price tag, the wine is up 94% since its London release (£16,500 per 12×75).

UGC Tasting 2019 suspended

This morning (13th March), the drinks business reported that the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux had announced the suspension of the En Primeur tastings that were due to take place at the end of the month.

In a statement the Union said, “The UGCB & its members have decided to suspend the 2019 En Primeurs week. For the time being, we shall all commit to implementing the recommendations set out by the authorities to cope with the situation, and take care of our loved ones in a spirit of solidarity.”

First Latour release since 2011 vintage

Latour 2012 is set to be released onto the market March 18th. The Chateau opted out of the En Primeur system in 2012 following the release of its 2011 vintage. Price details of the new release have not been disclosed but according to Liv-ex’s Fair Value analysis, we have a decent idea of where the wine could place.

Interview with Matteo Ascheri

Piedmontese winemaker, Matteo Ascheri, spoke with Liv-ex about the appeal of Italian wines as well as they challenged and opportunities that lie ahead for the industry. It offers an insightful look into the minds operating in one of the most exciting regions.