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Talking Trade – trade tariffs take a pause

It was announced on Thursday that the US would suspend the 25% tariffs on UK spirits for four months in a small step forward for the drinks industry. The 25% tariffs on EU wines and spirits remain, but could this be a sign of a greater change in policy?

Katherine Tai, who is being confirmed as the new head of the USTR, when asked about the tariffs in her hearing said: “I would very much be interested in figuring out – pardon the pun – how to land this particular plane because it has been going on for a very long time.” The tariffs are due to be revisited in a little over five months.

Bordeaux 2018 in-bottle scores continue to be released, with over 1,200 from James Suckling published on Wednesday (3 March). Jeb Dunnuck announced his would be released early next week. We expect the Wine Advocate to release theirs toward the end of the month. In Suckling’s report, the critic noted that, “2018 could turn out to be an all-time great similar to 2010, 2009 and 1989 or even such classics as 1982 or 1959”. Even with attention turning back to the 2018 vintage it was the 2017 vintage from Bordeaux that saw the most action – 27% of trade by value for the region on the week.

Bordeaux’s trade share rose above its February share (37.8%) in its best start to a month this year.

Burgundy also made gains for the week, in what’s been its best two month start to a year.

The USA continued to grow its presence in the secondary market as cult classics from the Napa Valley expand on their once largely domestic following.

Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac 2017 was the top traded wine of the week. The wine released in the UK at £4,870 per 12×75 in June 2018 but its price then drifted. That was until August 2020, since when its Market Price has increased 8.7%.

The 2017s from Chateau L’Evangile and Chateau Leoville Las Cases were two more clarets from this vintage in the top five.

The Champagne 50 has broken into double digit growth over the past year – up 10.77%. Dom Perignon 2010 featured in this week’s top five and has been the second most traded Champagne by value and volume in 2021. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose 2006 leads year-to-date trade in both categories.

Liv-ex Indices

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 and Liv-ex Fine Wine 1000 both saw positive movements in the month of February, up 0.56% and 0.62% respectively. The Burgundy 150 was the best performing Liv-ex 1000 sub-index last month. The Rhone 100 moved past Italy as the second-best performer over the past year.