Five years ago, the industry benchmark – the Liv-ex 100 index – reached its highest ever level when it closed on 364.7 at the end of June 2011. The Bordeaux 500, which tracks the price performances of 50 leading Bordeaux wines, reached its highest point one month later. This marked the peak of the boom for fine wine that began in mid-2005 and was spurred on when the acclaimed Bordeaux 2009 vintage was released in Spring 2010. But how have prices performed since?
The major indices drifted from peak until the end of June 2014, the market’s recent low. The Liv-ex 100 was down 36%; the Bordeaux 500 dropped 23%. They have both shown signs of recovery since: each has bounced 10%.
However, price performance has not been uniform. The chart below shows disparity between the impact of the downturn on different sub-indices of the Bordeaux 500. While the Left Bank reds – the First Growths in particular – were hit the hardest, top Right Bank wines saw a shorter and less severe period of decline, or even continued to rise. The Sauternes 50 shows no correlation with other sub-indices: it has been gently sliding for the past five years.
The price movements of wines within the index tell a similarly divided story. Of the 50 wines represented by the Bordeaux 500, 32 have dipped since June 2011. The remaining 18 – shown in the table below – have bucked the broader trend by increasing. The biggest climber, Angelus, is up 52.1%; Duhart Milon, which has fallen the furthest, is down 45.5%.
The Right Bank is well represented among those that are up: eight of the 15 Right Bank wines in the index appear in the table below. From the Left Bank, Calon Segur is the best-performer by a significant margin, up 38.8%. Next is Petit Mouton, the only second wine to appear despite a recent boost for the group.
Among the wines that have declined are those that gained the most during bull market. Five of the top ten fallers are First Growths and their second wines – and with Duhart Milon dropping the most, the Lafite stable is very present.
So where next? The Right Bank 100 index is currently at its highest ever level. Other indices – notably the Fine Wine 50 – have still been recovering from the recent low. Whether a more uniform movement will be observed going forward will depend on where buyers find value next. What is clear is that the various groups begin the next five years from very different starting points – and this is just Bordeaux.