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market report

Liv-ex is an electronic exchange for fine wine used by professional merchants and collectors. Market Report is part of a package of services offered to subscribers of Liv-ex, with subscriptions starting at £49.95 per year. Below is an extract from the latest Market Report. For the full report and to access Liv-Ex's services, sign-up with them at

Liv-Ex Market Report

by, June 2012


With the En Primeur campaign already over, summer lethargy took hold of the market earlier than usual and trading was subdued in June. Exchange turnover was down by almost 45% from last month, at a time when the new Bordeaux releases usually fire up the market. Summer’s demand for fizz boosted Champagne’s share of trade. The region increased to a two and a half year high of 4.4%, with the newly-released and admired Taittinger Comte 2002 accounting for 60% of this. Australian wines also fared well in June, taking just over 1% of trade, as did the Rhone. The Liv-ex Fine Wine indices continued to decline throughout June. The Liv-ex 100 (below) fell 4.7% to 265, leaving the market down 7.4% year-to-date. First Growth prices have suffered the most in 2012, with the Liv-ex 50 concluding the month at 306, down 8.4% since the start of the year and down 31% year on year. June is a month when we are used to seeing Bordeaux dominating the trade, but due to an early EP campaign its market share was just 85.7%: the lowest year-to-date, and ten percentage points lower than June 2011. Meanwhile, other French regions made gains, with Burgundy accounting for 4.7% of trade. Italy’s June performance didn’t quite match May’s highs, but it still held a firm 2.7% of market share.

(more analysis in the full report)

Major Movers

With the First Growths failing to inspire, buyers turned to the smaller players of Bordeaux. Affordable, older vintages triumphed, such as Eglise Clinet 2000, currently cheaper than its 2009 and 2010 counterparts. Similarly, Yquem 2008 appealed as the least expensive of its wines from 2005 onwards, while the much praised Lafleur 2000 (JR 19.5) is currently trading for £3k less than Lafite 2000 (JR 18.5). Italy’s market share has risen from an average of 0.9% in 2010 to 2.1% in the last year, as its affordable and highscoring wines turn buyers from Bordeaux. This month Sassicaia was the star, with its last four vintages (2006-2009) in the top 15 most-traded Italians. Drinkable 1997 vintages of Tignanello and Solaia are attracting buyers, while Solaia 2001 tempts at just over £100 a bottle.

(analysed in detail in full report)

Final thought: The Super Tuscans

With all the bad news that has surrounded Bordeaux this year – from overpriced primeurs to plunging secondary market prices – it is all too easy to forget that there is life beyond the Bordeaux bubble. Italy, for one, continues to generate good news. This was brought into focus recently by the release of the Wine Advocate report on the Tuscan 2008 and 2009 vintages, which saw a host of big names awarded scores in the mid to high 90s by Antonio Galloni. According to merchants, this caused a welcome increase in interest from buyers. And with wines such as Tignanello and Gaudo al Tasso 2009 available at around £250 per six-pack, the value available is clear. James Suckling has also been a key flag waver for Italy, recently awarding the 2009 Sassicaia 98 points and comparing it to the legendary 1985 (he also awarded the 1998 vintage 96 points and proclaimed it the new 1988). The 2009 is available at £960, making it one of the few Sassicaias available at under £1,000. It has seen good trade as a result. Indeed, over the last two months, Italy has accounted for 4% and 3% of trade, respectively, way above its 2010 and 2011 average of just 1%.

Of course, in secondary market terms, the Italian fine wine market is dominated by the Super Tuscans, being some of the few fine Italian wines produced in enough volume to provide secondary market liquidity. To see how the Super Tuscans have performed over the last few years, we built the Liv-ex Super Tuscan 50 (consisting of the 1999 –2008 vintages of Ornellaia, Masseto, Sassicaia, Tignanello and Solaia). The index shows that Italy has been one of the best performing sectors of the market since the start of the downturn (with only Burgundy showing comparable results). Whereas the Bordeaux market (as tracked by the Liv-ex Bordeaux 500) has fallen almost 20% over the past year – with the Firsts, on average, falling 30% – the Super Tuscans have managed to put in a creditable 9% rise in prices. With Burgundy and Italy both posting increases in their share of trade this year, merchants and their consumers are clearly broadening their interest outside of the Gironde. It may be wise for investors to do likewise.

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