Amateur buyers of fine Burgundy fear a speculative bubble

EVERY YEAR Berry Bros & Rudd, Britain’s oldest wine merchant, issues a pocket-sized price list. Reading old copies makes amateurs of quality quaff want to time-travel. In 1909 a case of 12 bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1891, Burgundy’s most famous Grand Cru, cost 180 shillings (about £1,000, or $1,300, in today’s money). In its historic London store, which opened in 1698, a single 18-year-old bottle of similar quality now sells for £25,000.

Fine wine is expensive to store, and its rarity and high transaction costs make it—oddly enough—an illiquid asset. Even so, its appreciation with age and perceived ability to diversify portfolios have made it popular with investors over the past two decades. The value of wine exchanged yearly between consumers, connoisseurs and collectors—the secondary market—has quadrupled to $4bn since 2000, says Justin Gibbs of Liv-ex, a wine-trading platform. He reckons that just...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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