- Bordeaux dominates the top-traded wines in Asia so far this year.
- Lafite is the top wine traded by value and Mouton-Rothschild by volume.
- The number of trades is down versus last year but value is up.
Left Bank Bordeaux has dominated volume and value trade in Asia so far this year. Lafite Rothschild held firm as the most traded label (LWIN7) by value overall so far in 2021, and it has the most wines in the top traded vintages (LWIN11s) by value as well.
Overall, the total number of trades so far this year is down 11% on the same period in 2020. The value of trades, by contrast, is up 4%.
There has also been a slight dip in the number of wines with a vintage (LWIN11) traded in Asia this year versus 2020. From January to September 2020 the number of LWIN11s traded nudged over 3,000, so far this year it is 3% less (2,982).
On the other hand, the number of wines overall (LWIN7) has continued to creep up, from 1,485 in the first nine months of 2020 to 1,598 this year (7.6%).
A lower volume of trades but higher value suggests a focus on more expensive labels. Increasing numbers of LWIN7s but a slight downturn in LWIN11s, meanwhile, suggests a continued broadening of the market but a stricter focus on vintages seeing trade.
Trade by value
As can be seen in the accompanying tables, trade by value is predominantly a French affair. This is the norm for Asia, despite the region seeing growing demand for all manner of other fine wines in recent years.
The line-up of First Growths, a couple of second wines, Petrus and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is a much more “classic” line-up than has been seen of late.
At this point of the year in 2020, Léoville-Poyferré, Opus One and Pichon Baron were all top labels traded by value, and Lynch-Bages and Léoville Las Cases made the cut for the top 10 in 2019.
The great constant though remains Lafite and Mouton-Rothschild in the top two spots something that has remained unchanged for over a decade.
The top wines with a vintage (LWIN11) traded in Asia so far this year also conform to the long-term trends.
The majority are mature vintages, ready to drink. Several of the wines have features that give them broad appeal in the Asian market. Lafite and Mouton’s 2008 vintages for example were deliberately packaged to capitalise on the auspiciousness of the number ‘8’ in China.
Lafite’s bottle is engraved with the Chinese character for 8, while Mouton chose Chinese artist Xu Lei to design its label.
Pavie’s 2012 vintage, meanwhile, was presented with a black and silver label to mark its promotion to Premier Grand Cru classé ‘A’ that year and Lafite’s 2018 vintage (currently the most traded wine by value across the entire secondary market this year) also bears a special label to mark the 150th anniversary of the property in Rothschild ownership.
Trade by volume
As one might expect, away from the glitz of trade by value, dominated by the biggest and most expensive names in fine wine, trade by volume is a more diverse collection of labels.
That said, Mouton-Rothschild is currently the most traded label by volume in Asia as well as one of the top-traded by value. The same is true of its second wine, Le Petit Mouton.
Looking at distinct wines, however, we find greater evidence of the broadening market. Col d’Orcia, Produttori del Barbaresco and Delamotte highlight the on-going strength of Italy and Champagne in the secondary market, while Brane-Cantenac and Smith Haut Lafitte show that there is still a place for good value claret.
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