End of the run: Fine Wine 100 down in April

Liv-ex’s Fine Wine 100 index saw a very minor downturn in April, ending an extraordinary 17-month run of consecutive gains – but the broader Fine Wine 1000 held steady.

The index, which tracks the 100 most widely traded fine wine labels on the Liv-ex Exchange, ended April down 0.5% on where it finished in March of this year.

It brings an end to the longest sustain run in the index’s history, one that started in December 2015 and saw some staggering gains  although the gains had become smaller in recent months, just 0.7% in March and 0.4% in February.

Building steadily in early 2016 the monthly gains really took off in summer last year, helped in no small measure by the ‘Brexit’ vote which weakened the pound and made the market very favourable for US dollar and euro buyers. Those buyers have no doubt picked up all they need by now though and the pound has firmed up too, all of which has no doubt led to the slowing down of the market.

The market is back to pre-2011 slump levels however and despite this small dip is no doubt still up on the year to date.

Liv-ex director Justin Gibbs commented: “We have reached an interesting point in the cycle. After a sustained period of recovery from the end of 2015, boosted by sterling’s decline against the dollar and euro, the market is facing some resistance. It comes on the eve of the Bordeaux 2016 release – a vintage of both quality and quantity. There are some interesting parallels to the 2010 release – in terms of both the quality of the vintage, and the shape of the market into which it is sold. Just like that release, getting the price right will be crucial to determining the broader market’s future direction.”

Intriguingly, two of the wines in March’s list of best-performing labels continued to rise in April: Masseto’s 2010 (which was the month’s best performer) up 12.1% to a new mid price of £5,642 a case and Comte de Vogüé’s 2012 Musigny Vieilles Vignes which was up 5.8% to £5,501.

Yquem made a surprise appearance in the best-performers column as well, its 2007 rising 7.8%. Also up were Louis Roederer’s Cristal 2007 and Cheval Blanc’s 2010 (its 2009 having been a top label in March).

It was largely Bordeaux going down however; Léoville Poyferré’s 2009, Cheval Blanc 2006 and Léoville Las Cases 2010 all declining with Burgundies from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (La Tâche 2011) and Armand Rousseau (2013 Chambertin) rounding out the numbers.

Meanwhile, the Fine Wine 1000 managed to hold steady in April, rising an extremely marginal 0.05%. The Burgundy 150 and Bordeaux 500 both slipped, down 0.19% and 0.20% respectively but the Rhône 100 index was the best-performer for the second month in a row, rising 0.7%.

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