Uncorrelated wine visions

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-10-17


Treasure assets are uncorrelated. That’s part of the attraction to high net worth individuals (HNWIs) looking for suitable stores of value.

I use the phrase store of value purposefully. Wealth preservation and enjoyment of the fruits of success are arguably far more important to HNWIs than specific targeted annual returns.

Wine has appeared deeply uncorrelated since the financial crisis of 2008. The facts bear that out. Yet we mustn’t forget the power of externalities to distort underlying tendencies; such as insatiable demand from China up until mid-2011, or the flight from traditional financial instruments during periods of extreme market stress into all things tangible. It’s easy to forget that the wine market did suffer during previous economic recessions or shocks, whether the recession of the early 1990s or the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

Yes, of course we’re talking principally about Bordeaux, that behemoth of a region that produces unrivalled oodles of fine red wine. Paradoxically other regions of production may indeed be uncorrelated with Classed Growth Bordeaux as hot wine money searches for relative value, or where scarcity creates a rather different drumbeat.

With the current financial market turmoil; the sudden reawakening to the woes of Europe; the economic and political uncertainty of its recession-hit member states - what better moment to analyse the question of market correlation?

The wine market became quite excited by a small upturn that started in late July, continued during August and through much of September. A month on, and things aren’t quite so clear-cut, but in spite of plummeting stock markets, wine prices are not following suit.

Wine Onwers Indices

The First Growth Index is up by 1.2% over the last 3 months whilst the FTSE has dived almost 8% - that’s roughly the same amount of value destruction as the First Growths experienced over the previous 12 months. The Bordeaux Index has followed the same positive (if tentative) trajectory (comprising Medoc and Graves Classed Growths and the top Libournais benchmarks). So has Northern Italy, only a whisker off its all-time highs, along with blue chip Burgundy and the effervescent Champagne market.

After a disappointing year so far for the wine market overall (represented by the WO 150 Index), the previously run-away Dow is within single-digit, fingertip distance of fine wine’s -2.7% fall.

WO 150 Index x Dow Jones


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