First growth prices rise 700% in 25 years22nd July, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt
The prices of first growth châteaux have risen 30 times more than the price of bulk Bordeaux over the past 25 years.
According to Christian Seely, managing director of AXA Millésimes, between 1986 and 2012, the release price of the first growths has increased by 703%, while the bulk price of generic Bordeaux has edged up just 25% over the same period.
The figures were revealed by Seely during last May’s MW symposium, where the AXA MD was asked to speak during a session called “Beyond Success: creating a strategy for sustained growth”.
As part of his presentation, he also said that over this same 25-year period the price of the seven “super-second properties”, including AXA’s Château Pichon-Baron, had grown by 340%, while prices for the third growths had risen by 180%.
Drawing a conclusion from such figures, he said that the returns for producers are correlated with wine quality.
“The higher the quality of wine you make, the long-term trend is more favourable for you,” he said.
“There is a globalisation of the demand for the very finest wines in the world, and that has affected the wine industry in terms of demand and supply,” he continued.
Explaining further his latter comment, he recalled that the majority of demand for Bordeaux in the 80s came from France, the UK and Belgium, whereas today, a large number of buyers have also emerged from the USA, Russia, Taiwan, China and Japan.
Speaking of new fine wine customers, often from emerging economies, he said that they “have a short wish-list: they want the very best.”
Such a list comprised a “maximum” of 100 wines, and Seely said that as a Bordeaux producer, “you want to be in the top 25”.
Consequently, he explained that he was focused on “doing everything possible to make the greatest wine we can at Pichon-Baron.”
Such an approach was employed “at almost any cost” he added, recording “huge sacrifices in terms of yields and selection”, ensuring that the château today produces “less than half the amount than Pichon-Baron in the 90s”.
Nevertheless, he commented that “the price has more than compensated for that”.
And, summing up, he stated: “The market rewards quality.”