Fine wine trends 2016: the merchants speak out

Simon Staples, Asia sales director, Berry Bros & Rudd

simon-staplesWhat has been selling well for you in the past year, and why?
Generally, we have continued with our impressive growth in Northern Italy and Spain but where that had replaced Bordeaux over the past three years or so, Bordeaux has come back with a vengeance and has gone a tad bonkers since the Brexit vote. It shows no signs of abating and with the glorious 2015 Burgundy vintage in January, I think demand and prices will continue in the right direction until at least spring 2017.

All levels of Bordeaux have done well but demand has continued in favorites such as Lynch-Bages, Figeac, Gruaud, Grand Puy Lacoste, Giscours, Haut-Bailly. Of the first growths Lafite has remarkably bounced back far more than I thought possible. Latour and Mouton follow. Champagne Grandes Marques have done very well too.

Champagne

Champagne Grandes Marques have sold well in 2016, according to Simon Staples

What has fallen out of favour in the past 12 months, and why?
Not a lot, really. 1er Cru Red Burgs that are looking a tad expensive as there is nothing available from 2010 or older and ’11, ’12 and ’13 aren’t really drinking that well at the moment. They will look cheap on the release of 2015s of course. The fad for natural wines seems to have gone… wahoo!

How important is en primeur Bordeaux to your business, and how important will a great 2016 vintage be for you?
It’s one of our cornerstones, and something we pride ourselves on. It is way too early to say how significant 2016 will be for us. Obviously, the macro environment is going to have a huge say on currencies over the next six months, and until things have stabilized, a low margin product such as en primeur is impossible to call.

Are your sales for the past year up on 2015, and if so, why?
Our en primeur sales are indeed up. From vintage 2014 to vintage 2015 we went from a £12 million to a £20m turnover.

Finally, what do you think will do well in 2017?
2008 Grandes Marques Champagnes, 15 red and white Burgundies, 2015 northern Rhônes. I think we shall see a significant uptake in South Africa, Central Otago and Pinots from Oregon.

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