Those with a keen eye on market movements may have noticed that the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 and the Liv-ex Claret Chip converged last week. The latter, which tracks high-scoring vintages of the First Growths, has historically outperformed its sister index. In recent years, though, demand from Asia has altered the relationship between the two benchmarks.

Five years ago, critical opinion was a key factor in determining how well a wine would perform on the secondary market. From 2008 onwards, however, demand from brand-conscious Chinese buyers boosted the value of more affordable First Growths, and Parker scores became increasingly irrelevant to price performance. As a result, the gap between the indices narrowed from 16 per cent in August 2006 to less than one per cent at the height of the market last year. The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 traded places with the Claret Chip in July and maintained its lead in the third and fourth quarters of 2011. 

This year, the Claret Chip has caught up. Could perceived returns be connected to quality in 2012?

Liv-ex Indices