In the past decade-and-a-half, fine wine prices have increased significantly. Records for the Fine Wine 50 Index, which tracks prices of the First Growths, go back to December 2003. Since then, the index has risen 250%. Even more impressive is the performance of the Second Wines 50 index which is up a staggering 670% over the same period.
A number of the First Growths’ second wines have climbed so high that they currently trade above the En Primeur release price of their estate’s top wine.
Those from vintages dating back to 2000 are shown in the table below. Buyers of these second wines today could have purchased a First Growth for the same price 15 years ago.
The greatest gap lies between Carruades Lafite 2002 today and Lafite Rothschild at release. Carruades last traded at £2,200 in June. This is 200% higher than the release price of Lafite, and an eye watering 1,150% above its own release price.
At the other end, Margaux’s Pavillon Rouge 2008 has narrowly entered the table. It recently traded at an all-time high of £1,600 per 12×75, exceeding the heights it climbed to during the bull-run of 2009-11.
Of the more recent vintages not in the table, the narrowest gap lies between Mouton Rothschild and Petit Mouton 2014. The first wine was released at £2,340; the second last traded at £1,838, still £502 (21%) lower.