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Bordeaux closing the gap according to Wine Lister

Published:  12 April, 2023

Momentum continues to grow for Bordeaux as the price appreciation gap narrows in comparison with other fine wine regions. 

According to Part I of Wine Lister’s annual Bordeaux study, when compared to the likes of Champagne, Piedmont and California, Bordeaux’s performance has evened out considerably in the last year.

In collaboration with the website, Wine-Searcher, Wine Lister’s Bordeaux study analyses the price and popularity of Bordeaux compared to six other key fine wine regions.

With a sample of 119 Bordeaux producers in Wine Lister’s database, the study also looks at which producers improved the most in quality, brand and economic scores. 

Despite seeing an impressive growth of 89% over a 10-year-period, Bordeaux has lagged behind other regions, chiefly Burgundy, which enjoyed unprecedented growth (319%), followed by Piedmont and Tuscany (205% and 157%, respectively).

However, performance has evened out considerably over the past 12 months with all regions increasing by a similar amount – between 7% (Bordeaux) and 13% (Tuscany), with an end to Burgundy’s meteoric rise of the previous year.

In addition, contradicting the prevailing opinion that en primeur no longer represents buying value – a sample of top Bordeaux producers analysed in the study tells a different story. The average release price appreciation of the last five vintages sits at around 17% – and ranges from 29% (Petit Mouton) to 166% (Lafleur) for the top 10 performers.

As the campaign for a ‘high quality’ Bordeaux 2022 vintage gathers pace, investors might want to pay close attention to the region’s fine wine market performance.

Last month, the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) released its 2022 vintage report, citing difficult climate conditions and one of the earliest harvests on record.

For the third year in a row, the volume of the harvest in Bordeaux was below the 10-year average, in large part due to drought, which had a major impact on the overall yield of the 2022 vintage.

Despite these challenges, ‘high-quality grapes’ were still produced. Pruning was delayed to limit the risk of a late frost and customised leaf removal and trellising was deployed to protect bunches from the sun.

In the year ahead, especially with the quantity of said vintage likely to be scarce, it might be time for consumers to reappraise their opinion of Bordeaux.

A decade ago, a basket of Bordeaux’s top 20 wines traded at an average 177% premium to the equivalent basket from California, Champagne, Piedmont, Tuscany and Spain. That premium is now 66%, while California has closed the gap to just 14%. Meanwhile, the unparalleled rise of Burgundy means that it has moved from 195% premium to Bordeaux to 650%. While Bordeaux’s 10-year price performance lags behind other fine wine regions, these pricing gaps are closing.

Part II of the study (to be published in June 2023) will investigate the quality of the 2022 vintage according to Wine Lister’s partner critics’ scores and will include further exploration of the market performance of Bordeaux wines and sub-categories.