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Demand surges for bigger bottles of wine

Published:  06 January, 2015

Demand for bigger bottles of wine is increasing, with one retailer predicting sales will rise by 8% in the next 12 months.

Fine wine merchant Woolf Sung, said larger bottles offer a "fantastic spectacle" as well as helping diversify wine investment portfolios.

Meanwhile Liv-ex said that there was evidence to show that the share of trade for big bottles has been rising and has been falling for smaller bottles.

Liv-exLarge format bottles

At Berry Bros & Rudd, figures show sales of magnums increased by almost 38% from January to December 2013 versus the same period in 2014. Magnums were most popular in the run-up to Christmas, with sales up 32% in month to December 11, 2014 versus the same period in 2013.  

Woolf Sung also said demand was stronger during the festive period - presumably as larger groups gather at meals or parties.

Popular sizes of larger bottles include the 1.5 litre magnum, 3-litre Jeroboam and the 6-litre methuselah. Woolf Sung says Dom Perignon 2000 double magnum has increased from £1,100 per bottle in 2012 to £3,000 per bottle in 2014, while double magnum of Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache 1983 has increased from £3,600 in 2012 to £6,600 in 2014.

The company says sales of large format bottles now represent 30% of its total, with Champagne dominating that with a 70% share.

Sebastian Woolf, chief executive Woolf Sung said: "Not only do large format bottles provide a fantastic spectacle, particularly for the festive period, they also provide another route for investors to diversify their fine wine portfolio. Their ability to mature more slowly attracts drinkers whilst their rarity presents investors with a unique opportunity to hold something really special, in the comfort that bars and clubs provide a stable exit route for those looking to realise their investment."

But Stephen Browett, managing director of Farr Vintners, said that while it always lists a large selection of big bottles - it currently has 281 items of 3 litres or larger for sale, he "would not say there is particularly strong demand for them at the moment". "In general we would advise customers only to buy big bottles if the price is more or less correct pro-rata compared to the corresponding number of regular bottles. For example a double magnum should be the price of four bottles plus maybe a 10-20% premium to cover rarity and the extra cost of production."