The Wall Street Journal posted this article today:(quote)
There isn’t much that’s finer than wine these days, especially as an investment.
On the last day of 2010, Liv-ex published the results of the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index. This indicator tracks the performance of 10 vintages of the 5 Bordeaux First Growths (Lafite, Latour, Mouton, Margaux and Haut Brion). For the first time in its history, it broke the 400 barrier, having been based at 100 in January 2004.
Recently I was asked if Ditton Wine Traders "do" wine investment. The short answer was no, but we can give you some advice. When drafting the advice for this potential, first time investor in the fine wine market, I came to the conclusion that there are a lot of companies around that offer fancy brochures and services and undoubtedly do a very good job. The flipside of this is that you do pay for that. And in the end, you don't really need that. What you do need is some basic advice that will allow you to select the right wines and avoid some of the pitfalls.
Last Saturday, Christie’s held its first Hong Kong wine auction since 2001. After a series of disappointing results in recent auctions by other houses, it’s good to see that demand is still there. Christie’s fetched US $ 4m on a pre-sale estimate of US $ 3.2m with 94% of lots sold. That is a very encouraging result, no doubt helped by some very rare vintages of Latour, ex cellar, bought by Francois Pinault in 1993.
There are more and more signs that the recent, steep fall in prices is starting to halt. Whilst volume of trade in especially October was low, we see that more and more buyers are bargain hunting at the new prices levels. Where 2 weeks ago stock was being offered cheaply without finding a buyer, we now see more and more of the same stock being snapped up and even slightly increasing in price again. There's an interesting article on this in Decanter, with views from various people in the trade.
To add some more background to yesterday's blog entry, Decanter have asked Liv-ex to comment on price developments. Here's what they say: "Fine wine prices hit new low". Interestingly, Liv-ex see that prices have more or less stabilized in the last 2 weeks, after the very steep drop in October. Personally, I think we have not seen the bottom quite yet although we can't be too far off. The latest auction by Hart, Davis Hart in Chicago, on November 1st, shows encouraging sell through rates, with only 8 lots out of 1,128 remaining unsold.
In the last few weeks, we have seen Fine Wine Prices coming down rather rapidly. Reuters have just published an interesting article on this, "Global credit crisis puts damper on wine prices". Auction houses see their sell-through rates dropping and prices as compared to only 6 weeks ago are significantly down. When looking at the Livex 100, the widely quoted Fine Wine Price Index, we see a drop of 16% from the high in August.
Well well, it’s been quite a week. We’ve seen a meltdown in the financial markets that has unsettled even the most experienced players. In fact, it took on such proportions that there was a very real, systemic risk of the whole financial system breaking down. Not surprisingly, this has triggered a global response from governments. After the US took the initiative in announcing measures, it now seems that the UK has initiated the right response in buying stakes in the troubled banks, forcing them to own up to a much larger figure of cash needed than they previously communicated.
Today was another day of mayhem on the stock exchanges. The CAC- 40, the French stock market index, lost 9% of it's value which is the largest one-day-drop ever. Both the FTSE and the DAX are down 7% and Asia closed this morning showing losses of between 4% and 6%. As I write this, the DOW trades 780 points or 7.6% lower. On such a day, or rather a series of days with extreme uncertainty ranging to panic, it won't come as a surprise that fine wine prices are coming down as well.