Kapon: Lafite bubble has burst

24th October, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

The Lafite bubble has officially burst according to US auction house Acker, Merrall & Condit’s chief executive John Kapon.

The value of Lafite 1982 has almost halved in the past two years

Speaking to Reuters, Kapon said: “Bordeaux accounts for 50% of the auction market and Burgundy 35%, which means that Italians, Californians and cults make up the rest.

“Now, Bordeaux is down 30%, and in some cases 50% – the Lafite bubble has burst.”

The global auction market for fine wine is expected to shrink to £250 million this year, down from £315m in 2011, as supplies dwindle and bidders turn their backs on Bordeaux.

The losses come as Asian collectors are starting to branch out from Bordeaux and Burgundy.

In a recent Acker auction in Hong Kong, which netted nearly £5 million, vintage Champagne, and wines from Condrieu, Hermitage, California and Italy all sold well.

“As collectors become more sophisticated, they also become more adventurous and want to try new things. That’s what will keep the market vibrant,” Kapon told Reuters.

Cases of Château Lafite 1982 that regularly sold at auction for £40-50,000 in 2010 are now going under the hammer for £25,000 or less.

With less fine wine coming onto the market, experts believe prices will flatten out before steadily rising again, albeit slowly.

At Christie’s, hefty price gains for top Burgundy such as Domaine de la Romanee-Conti have assuaged some of the losses in Bordeaux, while the Super Tuscans and top Rhône producers like Guigal (right) are also performing well.

In addition, small parcels of California cult wine Sine Qua Non, made by Austrian maverick Manfred Krankl, far exceeded estimates at a recent Christie’s auction in London.

One Response to “Kapon: Lafite bubble has burst”

  1. jim Sherman says:

    I disagree with the premise. Depending on the vintage, auction prices for Chateau Lafite Rothschild have actually been increasing. For example, performing searches for either the 1990, 2001, or 2005 vintages (and others) show a recent increase in prices. I am just not sure how the author’s data is arrived.

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