Talking Trade – Champagne maintains its poise

Regional share of trade by value (20th March - 26th March)

Wine shops around the world have seen a sharp increase in online activity this past month, with multiple retailers describing the demand as similar to Christmas. Christmas is never a strong period for the secondary market which is dominated by higher value wines with longer drinking windows, but we did see a small rise in volumes traded over the previous week.

Despite the recent strong rally in Sterling the currency remains 6% cheaper than it did three weeks ago offering buyers form US, Asia, and Europe a price sweetener. On the back of this the Liv-ex 50 – which tracks the daily price movements of the First Growths – moved a smidgen higher, 0.05%, to close the week at 323.65.

Bordeaux (45.5%) and Burgundy (9.0%) trade slipped this week as Champagne (18.3%) and Italy (17.5%) took market share. Wines from the two latter regions accounted for the Top 5 most active wines this week.

Top 5: share of trade by value (20th March - 26th March)

Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon 2008 led trade share by value for the second week running. Last week, we highlighted the stability of Champagne in perilous times and with the addition of Cristal 2012 and 2008 to the Top 5, the region continues to show its resilience.

Super Tuscans Sassicaia 2017 and Ornellaia 2016 also featured.  Sassicaia 2017 was released earlier this year at £1,700 per 12×75 and was awarded 94 points from the Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner. The 2017 had the difficult task of following the higher-scoring 2016, which was released at a lower price. Declining in price since release, the 2017 now rests amongst the similarly scored vintages of 2014 and 2011.

Ornellaia 2016 has also drifted from its release of £1,800 in April 2019, down 20%. Upon release it was the most expensive vintage available, rising above the equally scored 2006 (£1,560) and 2010 (£1,790), but with its recent fall in price, the 2016 now looks to represent good value.

A dash towards digital

In our survey about the future of wine trading, the majority of Liv-ex members suggested that automation would be the way forward. As our latest article showed, the future seems to be arriving early, with consumers and businesses moving online and merchants stepping up their pace of adoption.

One US-retailer recently reported that automation has led to a tenfold expansion of their range of wines and 25% increase in sales, while cutting inventory by 80%, staff costs by 30% and improving cashflow. Find out more in our case study.

Bordeaux 2019: Saturnalia scores

Saturnalia is a service designed to monitor and survey vineyards by using satellites and on ground technology. They collect and anlayze images of vineyards throughout the growing season, scoring them based on their proprietary algorithm. Liv-ex reported on their top scoring wines of 2019 and with UGC postponed indefinitely, the report offers a first look into which estates and regions excelled.

Covid-19 and the supply chain

Many have shown concern as to how Covid-19 has been disrupting supply chains and the wine industry. It is a dynamically changing situation. As yet, Liv-ex continues to fulfil trades worldwide and maintains its standardised logistics pricing.