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Victim of its own success: Château Rayas’ secondary market performance 

What’s happening in the market? 

Burgundy has been particularly active since last Friday, accounting for 28.0% of total trade by value. Wines from Domaine Armand Rousseau, Domaine Leflaive and Domaine Leroy contributed to the region’s success. 

While Bordeaux has maintained a strong presence with 42.5% of total trade, this is a dip from the 54.1% figure reported at the end of last week. It was buoyed by the 2018, 1999 and 2010 vintages of Château Lafleur trading, as well as Château Latour 1982

USA wines were relatively active over the same period, boosting the region up to 3.2% of total trade with the 2018 and 2019 vintages of Harlan Estate changing hands. 

Today’s deep-dive: Victim of its own success: Château Rayas’ secondary market performance 

The Rhône 100 has been the worst-performing sub-index of the Liv-ex 1000 in 2023, with a pullback of 18.1% year-to-date. The components of the Rhône 100 consist of five southern and five northern Rhône wine; among them Château Rayas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  

The average performance of Rayas wines in the Rhône 100 was -30.6% year-to-date, nearly triple the decline recorded by the next worst performer, Château de Beaucastel Rouge (-11.0% on average).  

However, because of Rayas’ high price point (over four times the average Market Price of other wines in the Rhône 100), it has a disproportionate impact on the index price. Therefore, without Rayas in the index, the Rhône 100 (in pink in the chart below) becomes one of the best performers in the Liv-ex 1000, second only to Italy. 

Looking into the best-performing wines within the Rhône 100, year-to-date, the last ten vintages of Domaine de la Janasse, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vieilles Vignes have seen their price increase by 2.2% on average. The wine has an average Market Price of £625 per case for its last ten vintages, making it the second least expensive within the index and nearly 19 times cheaper than Château Rayas.  

Likewise, the last ten vintages of Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Hermitage, La Chapelle Rouge have recorded an average price increase of 1.7% year-to-date. The price of its 2011 vintage in particular has risen by 25.2% year-to-date.  

What is behind Château Rayas’ negative price performance? 

Château Rayas, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the most traded wine by value from the Rhône on Liv-ex, has changed hands 56 times this year, totalling 324 bottles. The 2010 and 2012 were the most popular vintages, with the majority of buyers hailing from Asia (33.6%), the UK (33.5%) and the USA (29.1%). The label is famed for its quality and the mystery that surrounds its distribution, Robert Parker once deeming Château Rayas 1990 possibly ‘the most prized wine in [his] personal collection’.  

Rayas distinguishes itself by its unique operational approach, rather less commercially-minded than some of its counterparts, relying on private customer and caviste allocations while avoiding agents and négociants, except for import agents in the US. The label’s ex-domaine price has also reportedly remained relatively consistent for the last ten years, between €80 and €95 for trade, while private individuals can purchase them for approximately €120 to €130. 

The Rayas story is therefore one of secondary market performance. Its current decline is tied to its previously inflated prices resulting from high demand in the secondary market, driven by the label’s distinctive distribution channels. Rayas is now undergoing a correction similar to major Bordeaux or Burgundy brands. However, unlike these brands, where the retracement can be attributed to an initially high release price, Rayas’ pullback stems from its own success in the secondary market. 

However, recent trades on the Liv-ex exchange show the wine’s prices remain significantly higher than its ex-domaine prices. The 2011 vintage recently traded at £760 per bottle, the 2010 at £875 and the 2007 at £916. Although these figures represent an increase from release prices, they also mark a decline from the peak trade values reached in the 2022 (£1,563 per bottle in August for the 2010 vintage, while the 2007 sold for £1,879 per bottle in March of the same year). 

Château Rayas 2007 trades on Liv-ex 

There are currently 160 LIVE bids and offers for Rayas on Liv-ex. Log in to the exchange to view them and trade. Additionally, you can use the new ‘Save to List Studio‘ function to add these wines to a custom list (e.g. a ‘wish list’ or ‘watch list’) which you can return to at any time. 

In case you missed it:  

Here’s what we’ve been reading:  

  • Liv-ex: The 2023 Liv-ex Power 100 – Gimme Shelter 
  • Harpers: Penfolds ‘Luxury & Icon’ wines join La Place 
  • Reuters: China’s central bank pledges to support domestic demand 

Liv-ex analysis is drawn from the world’s most comprehensive database of fine wine prices. The data reflects the real time activity of Liv-ex’s 620+ merchant members from across the globe. Together they represent the largest pool of liquidity in the world – currently £100m of bids and offers across 20,000 wines.               

Independent data, direct from the market.