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Bordeaux's second wines in price surge

Published:  13 October, 2010

The second wines of First Growth chateaux in Bordeaux are experiencing a big increase in price, according to data from Liv-Ex.

The fine wine index reports that more than 30 wines from the 2000 vintage onwards have risen in price by 50% or more, with 14 wines seeing their prices double in 12 months.

Liv-Ex said that buyers regard second wines as "the cheapest way to gain exposure to the grand vin", a feeling especially prevalent among many Asian investors.

It added that in September 2007, it was possible to buy seven cases of second wines for the same price as one case of a grand vin. This has declined to four cases as demand for second wines has increased.

"The second wines' phenomenal price appreciation is due to brand-led demand," said Liv-Ex. "The main driver of purchase is visual: the second wines, particularly to those who do not read the western alphabet, look almost exactly the same as the first wines, apart from the names of the wines themselves.

"And when the brand becomes mightier than the score or vintage and quality becomes largely immaterial to the purchaser, prices across vintages become equalised."

Liv-Ex said there were examples of good value in the market for second wines, especially among recent vintages and in cases where the labels were markedly different in design to the grand vin.