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Britain overtaken in fine wine at auction by China and the US

Published:  18 May, 2016

Britain has been overtaken by China and the United States, as some of the top countries for buying and investing in fine wines at auction.

Britain has been overtaken by China and the United States as some of the top countries for buying and investing in fine wines at auction.

According to Barnebys, an international auction search engine aggregator, the last decade has seen uninterrupted growth in the value of the best fine wine sold at auction and this has changed the ranking of nations and buyers who dominate the trade.

Britain, whose wine buyers and investors dominated this market ten years ago, has now been overtaken by the United States, France, Italy, Germany and China.

The landscape has changed so drastically that China has come from nowhere to fifth place in a decade.

The global wine auction market remained stable in 2015, falling just 1% in value from $348 million in 2014 to $346 million in 2015.

But the best of the best wines continue to grow in value, a pattern that is echoed in other areas of the collecting market including paintings, cars, jewellery and Asian Art.

Fine wineFine wine

In the early 2000s Brits were the major wine buyers on the auction market, but no longer.

The last few years have seen rankings change dramatically as prices rise and today, the buying power of the Chinese is having a huge impact on wine sales.

China's new billionaire class has pushed the eastern giant to the fifth biggest buyer of wine at auction.

Hong Kong has been hollowed out underground with miles of air-conditioned wine cellars to hold this new liquid gold.

And the Chinese are not simply buying wine, they are growing it too.

A spokesman for Barnebys said: "Local production has taken off in China. According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, the Chinese vineyard area increased by 34 million hectares in 2015, making it the second largest area of vineyard by country.

"This is why when Andrew Lloyd Webber sold part of his wine collection five years ago he chose to sell in Hong Kong at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong with Sothebys. The creator of Cats and Phantom of the Opera added an extra £3.5 million to his bank balance with the sale of some 8,837 bottles choice bottles from his vast wine collection."

Barnebys' currently has 1,600 auction house clients including giants Christie's and Sotheby's.