The Wine Market September 2022
Only a couple of weeks ago the wine market felt like it does quite a lot of the time; a bit of a backwater, no great trends or swings, business as usual. Most things were just floating along calmly on their predicted journey while little pools continued to defy gravity, even though it would appear to make no logical sense; the highly prized Salon 2002 for example, having doubled and tripled in two to three years was in high demand - the joys of rarity are a thing to behold when such demand is in town! (I have sold some of this treasured holding on behalf of clients).
And then along came a newly formed Conservative government who decided they needed to bet the house on the UK economy, cutting taxes in order to promote growth, and wiped 10% off the value of the British pound in the process, and in record quick time. Tax cut reversals have now taken place and sterling has rallied a little although it remains at a much lower level than a year ago:
GBP/USD one year chart
Source: Yahoo Finance
This is unbridled joy for US dollar-based wine traders, which includes the powerful markets of North America, Hong Kong and Singapore, amongst others. Following the latest slide, we have seen some reasonably stale offers of quality stocks suddenly sell and UK traders across the board are reporting increased interest from these areas.
As a result, my personal take on the market has gone from a neutral stance to something more optimistic than that.
I have always held the belief that there is more demand in the US market for the wines of Piedmont and Italy in general given the obvious connections of heritage, and also for Chateauneuf du Pape (or C9P as I saw it written recently!). Mr. Parker had a penchant for handing out incredibly high scores for C9P back in the day which will have helped but it is also felt that America has a higher tolerance for sun kissed, more alcoholic (more than the Europeans are used to at least) juice. Asia does not yet seem to share these particular tastes in these regions but are very happy to continue buying Burgundy and Bordeaux. Everyone continues to buy Champagne, for very good reasons, so that is a large percentage of the market covered already!
I would not be at all surprised to see US wine stocks being exported from the UK back to the USA and feel that back vintages of highly prized Napa wines make strong sense.
Looking ahead, UK buyers in the primary markets for wine will be severely affected by sterling’s weakness in the coming months and their pockets will be stretched, so back vintages of well stored investment grade, quality stocks already in the secondary market also make good sense.
As GBP plummeted and the FTSE faltered, wine investors here in the UK slept well, evidence below. Yet again wine demonstrates its enviable low correlation and low volatility characteristics when all around others were losing their heads. I’ll drink to that!
The WO 150 Index is GBP based, other indices are based in local currency.
Miles Davis, 5th October 2022
Tags: fine wine, fine wine investment, wine market,