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Wine and Handbags

POSTED ON 01/08/2014

Taylor's Port is currently bottling its two casks of Single Harvest 1863 into 1,600 crystal decanters for will worldwide release. It is expected to retail for around £3,000. It follows the release of a limited edition imperial of 2010 Penfolds Bin 170 Kalimna Shiraz in a bespoke case with a compass designed by cabinet maker David Linley at £33,000 for the imperial (six-litre bottle).

On the face of it such wines show no relationship between cost and value. Aimed at the super-rich and brand-conscious, these so-called icon wines sell on their value as luxury goods and confirmers of status on the same level as watches, bags, shoes, leather goods, perfumes, paintings and cars. In effect, the liquid in the bottle has been magically transformed into luxury goods.

To understand all this, you need to have a grasp of the secondary market of wine investment and collection. Like it or not, investing in wine, a market estimated at around £4 – 6 billion, has become big business. The investment market is the key driver of extortionate prices for wines. As demand for limited supplies has increased in the past three decades with rising incomes, prices have risen to encourage investors in wine beyond the traditional wine lover.

Not surprisingly, the amount of wine held for investment purposes has increased substantially. There are now a growing number of investment vehicles for wine, from traditional wine merchants and individuals, to brokers, auction houses now expanding on the internet and vintage wine investment funds, of which there are at least a dozen and perhaps as many as 20 or so worldwide.

Four out of five bottles of fine wine traded are Bordeaux where roughly two dozen top châteaux have become luxury goods labels and investment vehicles. Among them are the five first growths of the Médoc and Graves. i.e. Château Haut-Brion, Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Mouton-Rothschild, ‘superseconds’ such as Léoville-Las-Cases, Lynch-Bages and Palmer, the St.Emilion Grands Crus Classés, Cheval Blanc, Ausone, and more recently Angélus and Pavie, and the Pomerols of Petrus, Le Pin and Lafleur. As these wines are snapped up by international collectors and investment funds, they move beyond the reach of the average consumer.

The smart money in search of The Next Big Thing in Bordeaux is going on such rising stars as Pontet Canet, Léoville Poyferré and Haut-Bailly. The problem for Bordeaux however is that collectors and investors have lost faith with the region after the excessive price hikes for the 2009 and 2010 vintages were followed by three mediocre vintages. The Liv-ex index (see Liv-ex.com) fell for 12 consecutive months to 31 March 2014. There is another problem. High prices have encouraged fraudsters to operate, and the growing number of criminal cases involving forgeries and counterfeit wines is a significant threat.

The most obvious example of a wine as a luxury goods item is the Burgundy, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or DRC. Until recently Château Lafite was the darling of the luxury goods market, but Lafite has fallen in value over the past year, while the DRC wines and other high-flying Burgundies go from strength to strength. The knock-on effect of the success of DRC is that investors are now looking at names that are a little less exorbitant on release. In Burgundy this includes such names as Rousseau, Cathiard, Fourrier, de Vogüé, Roumier, Coche-Dury, Comte Liger Belair, Leroy, Ponsot, Leflaive, Grivot and Dujac.

The trend has been followed by other wines outside the classic regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. In Champagne, it extends to Krug, Cristal and Dom Pérignon , especially top vintages and limited editions. It reaches into Italy with such Barolos as Giacomo Conterno and Sandrone, to Barbaresco with Angelo Gaja, to Tuscany with the supertuscans, Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Masseto and many more. California has its high end cabernet sauvignons in wines such as Harlan, Screaming Eagle, Bryant Family, Grace, Dominus and Opus One. Australia has its Penfolds Grange and a growing list of would-be icon wines.

This search for the Next Big Investment Thing is a global phenomenon, with millionaires from Russia, Asia (China in particular), Malaysia and Latin America joining the more traditional rich consumers of the North America and Europe. According to a recent annual wealth study by Boston Consulting Group, the total number of dollar millionaires worldwide leapt from 13.7 million in 2012 to 16.3 million in 2013, while private wealth in China surged more than 49%. For those of us who love great wine it’s a worrying development. Is there a silver lining? Yes. The expanding world of quality wine at least the allows us access to most of our favourite wines.

Chinese Version

文 /Anthony Rose 译/ 张 然
葡萄酒和奢侈品
奢侈葡萄酒和名画、手表、汽车一样,成为社会身份的象征。
Anthony Rose
常住伦敦。英国葡萄酒记者和作家,在www.independent.
co.uk开设周专栏。也为Decanter、 The World of Fine Wine
等杂志供稿。很多知名葡萄酒大赛的评委和主席。The Wine
Gang 的创办人之一。博客www.anthonyrosewine.com.,微
博Anthony _ Rose。
最近,泰勒波特酒厂( Taylor's )把两
桶1863单一年份酒装在160 0个水晶
瓶中,并将在世界范围内发行。每
瓶的售价大概在3 0 0 0 英镑。稍前发布的6升
装限量版2 0 10 年份奔富B i n 17 0 老藤西拉,
其木盒包装由英国林利(L i n l e y)公司特制
并嵌入一个玉制指南针。每瓶的零售价格为
33 0 0 0英镑。
从表面上看来,这类酒的价格和它的价
值没有太大的关系。这些酒的目标消费群体
定位在一些讲究牌子的超级富豪,这些所谓
的“顶级”的酒卖点类似于其他奢侈品,就像
手表、包、鞋子、皮革制品、香水、油画或者汽
车,是社会地位的象征。事实上,这些瓶中的
液体被神奇地转化为了奢侈品。
想要明白这个道理,你需要了解葡萄酒
投资和收藏的二级市场。这个市场的体量不
可小觑,整体估值达到4 0 - 6 0 亿英镑。投资市
场是推动葡萄酒价格疯涨的重要因素。随着
过去三十年来对限量佳酿的需求日益增长,精
品葡萄酒价格飞涨,这更加鼓励葡萄酒的投
资者而非传统葡萄酒爱好者购买葡萄酒。
并不令人惊奇的是,以投资为目的的葡萄
酒数量明显增长。现在葡萄酒投资的方式越
来越多,从传统的酒商和个人到中间商、拍
卖行,现在扩展到网络和老酒投资基金,这
样的投资基金目前在世界范围内至少有十几
二十种。
在市场上交易的精品葡萄酒中有五分之
四是波尔多酒,大概有二十几个顶级波尔多
酒庄现在已经成为了奢侈型品牌和投资级产
品。在这些酒庄中,有五家来自梅多克和格拉
夫的一级庄,奥比昂、拉菲、拉图、玛歌、木
桐,“超二级庄”如雄狮酒庄、林卓贝斯酒庄
和帕玛酒庄,圣爱美浓一级特级名庄白马、奥
颂,以及最近获得升级的金钟和柏菲,波美侯
的柏图斯、里鹏和拉弗尔(Laf leu r)。随着国
际藏家和投资基金的追捧,普通消费者是难
以得到这些酒的。
寻找“下一个波尔多之星”的聪明的投
资正在流向比如庞特卡奈(Pontet Canet)、
波菲(L é ov i l l e Poy fe r r é)和高柏丽(H a ut-
Bailly)。然而波尔多的问题在于,经历了价格
虚高的波尔多2009、2010年份和紧随其后的三
个平庸年份,收藏家和投资者对这个产区已经
失去了信心。截止到2 014年3月31日,L iv-ex指
数已经连续12个月呈下降趋势。
葡萄酒变成奢侈品的最明显例子就是勃
艮第的DRC。虽然直到最近,拉菲酒庄还是
葡萄酒奢侈品市场的宠儿,但是在过去的一
年中拉菲的价格在不断下降,然而DRC 和其
他的勃艮第顶级酒却在不断走高。DRC所带
来的连锁反应便是投资者现在开始寻找那些
不过分出名的酒庄,比如Rousseau、Cathiard、
Fourrier、de Vogüé、Roumier、Coche-Dury、
Comte Liger Belair、Leroy、Ponsot、Lef laive、
Grivot 和Dujac。
波尔多和勃艮第这两大经典产区之外
的葡萄酒也紧随这样的趋势。在香槟区,这
一范围扩展为库克香槟(K r u g)、水晶香槟
(Cristal)和唐培里侬(Dom Pérignon),尤其
是顶级年份和限量版。在意大利则是Ba rolo
的Giacomo Conterno、Sandrone,Barbaresco
的Angelo Gaja,托斯卡纳的超级托斯卡纳,
包括Ornellaia、Sassicaia、Masseto等等。加州
酒有很高端的赤霞珠葡萄酒,比如H a r l a n、
Scream i ng Eagle、 Br yant Fam i ly、Grace、
Dom i nu s 和O pu s O ne。澳大利亚则有奔富
Grange和一些潜在的顶级佳酿。
这种寻找“下一个投资明星”的潮流变
成了一种国际现象,来自俄罗斯、亚洲(尤其
是中国)、马来西亚和拉美的百万富翁开始
加入传统的北美和欧洲的富裕消费群体。来
自波士顿咨询集团的最近一年的财富研究显
示,百万美元富豪从2012年的1370万人增加到
2 013年的163 0万人,其中,中国的私人财富暴
增49%。对我们这些爱酒的人来说,这是一个
让人担忧的变化。
Envies

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