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Burgundy price growth softening

Published:  09 November, 2020

Despite a continued shift upward in the prices for top wines, Burgundy’s lower tiers are showing signs of stagnation, according to analysis released by Wine Lister as the 2019 en primeur releases begin.

Market research revealed that Burgundy’s price growth has been “decelerating” as a polarisation occurs between Burgundy’s “elite” grand crus and the lower end wines.

The report said that while Burgundy has shown the greatest price growth of any region since 2010, still outpacing Bordeaux, California and Tuscany, with a “notable shift upward” in wines costing over £3,000 since 2018, Piedmont has outpaced Burgundy’s performance over the past 12 months (see chart below).

Moreover, those highest priced Burgundy wines have experienced falling popularity recently, while Bordeaux has remained more consistently popular.

However, the “stagnation” at the lower end of Burgundy is delivering value opportunities beyond the big names.

Wine Lister founding members, said the report, had “identified opportunities in lesser-known appellations outside of the Côte d’Or … as well as in entry-level or value wines”.

“Top industry opinion indicates that Burgundy’s best commercial opportunities for the near-future lie in lesser-known appellations in the Mâconnais and Côte Chalonnaise, such as Pouilly-Fuissé or Mercurey, as well as rising denominations Marsannay and Savigny-lès-Beaune.”

Despite a “smaller than average crop of 2019 en primeur” this year, and a paired back Hospices event, the study predicted that the market may well see price freezes at the mid-to-lower end, down to the economic climate, and even an oversupply of entry level wines.

Another key finding was that while “the trade still ultimately places more confidence in domaine-made wines, its members acknowledge that the quality disparity between them and wines from maisons de négoce is but an image perception challenge”.

It cited Maisons Louis Jadot and Faiveley as two of the “top trade confidence improvers” featuring in the study, with Burgundy expert Jasper Morris MW, who contributed to the report, adding that “maisons de négoce vineyards are “frequently just as well-run as those of many domains”.

The Wine Lister analysis of the market found “key industry members” suggesting that more could be done “to better communicate the high quality of négociant wines”.