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Fine wine trading decline slows, but ‘no clear bottom in sight’ says Liv-ex

Published:  13 October, 2023

A year into a global decline in fine wine trading the market remains volatile, though with some signs that the decline may be slowing.

In its Q3 market update, trading platform Liv-ex revealed that there had been “downward movements” across all its major indices, with “no clear bottom in sight”.

Citing a series of economic challenges across the globe, including political uncertainty in the US, monetary tightening in the EU and sluggish economic growth in the UK and China, the Liv-ex 1000 indice – its broadest measure of the market – recorded a faster decline in September than previous months.

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There were signs, however, that the decline across the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 – the most traded wines – was slowing, raising hopes that “the market may be looking for a turning point”, according to the report.

Contrasting fine wine with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial financial indices, which increased by 17.7% and 16.7% respectively over the past year, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 declined by 12.1% over the same period.

In addition, the Liv-ex 100 and the Liv-ex Fine Wine 1000 declined by 10.3% and 10.4% respectively since the start of the year, with the report also noted increasing volatility across the indices.

During Q3, the Rhône 100 stood out as the weakest performer among the Fine Wine 1000, falling 21.4%, primarily down to the underperformance of Château Rayas, while Italy was noted as the ‘best performer’, down just 3.7%.

The Champagne 50 rallied slightly in Q3, with Dom Perignon remaining the most traded fizz, but the category remains 16% below its peak in October 2022.

Bordeaux also retained its dominant position among traded wines, but lost some share, “possibly off the back of a challenging En Primeur campaign”, according to the report.

Certain Bordeaux 2013 wines, however, bucked the trend, with estates such as Château Climens (up 23.9%), Château Rieussec (up 21.7%) and Château La Conseillante 2013 (up 20.3%) among the highest performers.

From Italy, Fontodi Colli della Toscana Centrale Flaccianello delle Pieve 2017 was a standout, rising by 24.2% over the quarter.

“Despite being a year into the market downturn the market headwinds have not abated – quite the opposite,” said Justin Gibbs, deputy chairman and exchange director of Liv-ex.

“With Chinese demand sidelined and higher interest rates weighing on stock holding strategies, both at the merchant and collector level, risk aversion remains pervasive. This said, fine wine has always been a (relatively) steady ship in a storm and recent trade dynamics suggest some are beginning to sniff an opportunity. But the momentum, for now, remains with the bears.”