Global wine trade predictions for 2024
Liv-ex members represent the largest pool of professional fine wine traders in the world and are estimated to account for 90% of fine wine turnover globally. There are currently 620+ members of Liv-ex across 47 countries ranging from start-ups to centuries-old, established wine merchants.
Overall trade outlook
The first question we asked members was ‘which of the following would best describe your outlook for the fine wine trade in 2024?’
In 2023, sentiment was predominantly neutral or optimistic; 2024 has brought on a notable shift in outlook. 36% of respondents reported feeling ‘quite pessimistic’, with an additional 3% stating they were ‘very pessimistic’. On the other hand, 20% expressed having a ‘quite optimistic’ outlook, while 41% held a neutral stance. None of the respondents chose the ‘very optimistic’ option.
2023 market challenges
When we polled members in 2023, the three biggest challenges they identified for the year ahead were the global economy, the supply chain, and China. This year, we asked them whether in hindsight, they still thought this to be true: more than half of respondents agreed that these factors were either correct or mostly correct.
Other common challenges identified were:
High interest rates
26.1% of respondents highlighted higher interest rates as a significant challenge in 2023. According to one respondent, this made holding stock less attractive, while another highlighted that ‘alternative asset classes are the worst affected by this’. Another mentioned that ‘the cost to borrow money becoming more expensive is having a major impact on the wider market, as 85% of wine is bought on loaned funds’.
8% of respondents pointed out that conflicts around the world, particularly the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and tensions in Israel, introduced uncertainty into the global economy.
5.7% of respondents identified increases in wine prices as a challenge in 2023, particularly around the Bordeaux 2022 En Primeur campaign. One respondent said that ‘aggressive producer pricing and therefore slower/stagnant price appreciation post EP put off consumers’.
While there were too many to list them all individually, other respondents cited the lingering effects of Covid-19 on hospitality and on the consumption of wine in Asia, exchange rates and the strength of the US dollar depreciating stock, the low volumes (and high prices) of Burgundy 2021, supply chain issues and tariffs as the major challenges they felt in 2023.
Best performing regions in 2024
Respondents were then asked to rank regions in terms of their expected performance in 2024. The results, outlined below, assign a score to each region based on the frequency of its placement in rankings.
Bordeaux and Tuscany come out on top
Bordeaux led with 37.5% of respondents ranking it in first place. Tuscany claimed the second position with 19.3% of respondents ranking it first and 21.5% placing it in second.
Challenges ahead for Australia, Spain and the Rhône
On the flip side, Australia faced a less optimistic outlook, with 68.2% of responders ranking it as the region likely to perform the worst in 2024.
Spain placed low in regional rankings with 39.7% of respondents positioning it in the second-to-last position.
The Rhône also ranked near the bottom, with 26.1% of respondents placing it in 7th position.
As part of the survey, we asked wine businesses to predict the closing level of the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index, the industry benchmark, in December 2024.
Liv-ex members expected a modest increase in fine wine prices for 2024. On average, respondents predicted a 1.6% rise, meaning the index would close at 365.99. The median response was slightly higher still at 2.0%.
Optimistic outlook: 67.8% of respondents anticipated a rise in the index.
Cautious sentiment: 31.0% believed the index would fall.
Stability on the horizon: 1.1% expected the index to remain unchanged.
The most optimistic respondent foresaw a 24.9% rise in the index, while the most pessimistic predicted a decline of 19.5%.
Global wine trade predictions for 2024
When asked what their big predictions were for 2024, participants offered a wide range of answers.
Perhaps the most notable is a Spice Girls reunion, to which we say, Do It – it would be Kinda Funny! One optimist is hopeful that England will win the T20 World Championship, and another that Ipswich will get promoted to the Premiership (dream on). Rather cryptically, one respondent predicted that ‘water will be big’ (In terms of volume? Demand? Price? Who’s to say).
In all seriousness, several themes emerged from the wine-related predictions we received, all of which are outlined below.
Some respondents foresee sustained challenging market conditions in 2024, with one predicting that the best-performing markets of 2021 will be the worst performers in 2024. Others anticipate a milder decline compared to the previous year, perhaps even a flat market year-on-year. One respondent mentioned they believe ‘tough market conditions are likely to lead to some businesses failing’.
On the other hand, certain respondents anticipate a challenging start to the year, with potential recovery anticipated in the latter half. One respondent predicted that as prices continue to drop, there will be renewed interest from buyers.
Some are expecting this renewed interest to lead to increased demand for specific regions, including Tuscany, Piedmont and Loire Wines. A few respondents predicted heightened demand for wines in the lower to medium-low price range. One mentioned that ‘people will look further for value outside of the traditional names’.
Bordeaux took the spotlight among predictions, with 22.7% of respondents expressing varying views on its performance. Some believe in a bounce-back, foreseeing Bordeaux reclaiming market share, while others predicted further challenges for Bordeaux En Primeur campaigns due to high prices. One respondent, however, predicted a substantial ‘25 to 30%’ drop in Bordeaux En Primeur prices in 2024.
What will change in 2024?
Lastly, we asked members what (if anything) they would be looking to do differently in 2024.
Reduced stock purchases
17.9% of respondents indicated they plan to decrease stock purchases. Some intend to buy only to fulfil orders or to acquire stock at exceptionally low prices. One respondent also mentioned that they will ‘run a tighter Bordeaux EP campaign’.
Several respondents expressed the desire to explore other markets such as Italy, or to look at older vintages. Others mentioned they would be moving away from Burgundy or Bordeaux in pursuit of value. One respondent expressed their intention to enter the secondary spirit marketplace.
Strategic pricing approaches
14.3% of respondents intend to make changes related to prices. Some are awaiting further price declines before making purchases, while others plan to negotiate ‘more aggressively with producers’. Interestingly, one respondent expressed the intention to hold firm on prices, while another said they would be ‘more flexible with pricing to get trades through’.
This survey was conducted among Liv-ex members in January 2024; it provides a fascinating insight into what the global wine trade think might happen in 2024.
Last year, the trade’s outlook was a lot more optimistic (38% of respondents had a ‘quite optimistic’ outlook, while 5% said they were ‘very optimistic’). Interestingly, in 2024, a larger proportion of respondents anticipated a rise in the Liv-ex 100 (67.8% in 2024 versus 60.0% in 2023), and the average rise predicted is broadly the same year-on-year (1.6% in 2024 versus 1.7% in 2023).
Granted, we’re starting from a lower base this year following over a year of declines. However, the trade’s 2023 average prediction of a 1.7% rise was quite a way off the mark – and considering that high interest rates and price increases are still a reality and that global conflicts are unlikely to be resolved overnight, one wonders whether the 2024 prediction is likely to come true.
As always, Liv-ex will be watching and will continue to provide independent data, direct from the market as the year progresses. In January, we assessed how well the wine trade predicted 2023 – members can find out the results in our Market Update.
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.