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Can Asia maintain its consistent thirst for Grand Cru Burgundy?

Look at a graph detailing Grand Cru Burgundy trade in the UK, US or Europe, and you will see peaks and troughs. The same cannot be said of Asia, whose trade of high-end Burgundy wines has remained consistent over the last five years.

Can Asia maintain its consistent thirst for Grand Cru Burgundy?

Asia’s share of Grand Cru Burgundy trade has remained remarkably stable since 2017, according to fine wine marketplace Liv-ex’s latest report.

‘Burgundy 2022 – Hair of the dog’ claims the 2022 campaign offers some respite for the fine wine market that has been in a “year-long downturn”, though caution remains about pricing.

Exceptionally low yields in 2021 led many producers to hike prices. The decision coincided with the beginning of a downturn in the market globally, spelling bad news for many Burgundy producers, as it highlighted its unaffordability even at Village level.

However, Asia’s consistency, particularly when it comes to Grand Cru wines, has arguably been a port in a storm for Burgundy. In contrast, the UK’s dropped considerably in 2021, though Europe and the US’s rose.

At Village level, Liv-ex has said, the UK’s share of trade continued to increase in 2023, at the expense of Europe and the US.

Despite a dip in 2022, Asian buyers rallied, and their share of Village wine trade is almost back to 2021 levels, pointing to sustained demand for Burgundian wines in the region. Liv-ex did, however, say this could indicate a gradual move away from the top tiers.

Changing tastes

Bordeaux has long been top dog among Asian buyers, but in recent years tastes have pivoted towards Burgundy. Bar Hong Kong, where Bordeaux wines remain the most widely purchased, the region has been overtaken in terms of trade by value in most Asian regions. Burgundy is the region’s new darling, aside from Champagne which is favoured in Japan.

Lunar New Year has a big impact on the secondary market in Asia, and the Year of the Dragon beginning this month will be no exception. Bordeaux producers associated with the dragon — namely
Château Beychevelle, which depicts a griffon on its label, and Château Phélan Ségur, which translates to “the dynasty of flying dragons” in Chinese — are sure to do well. However, Liv-ex has seen significant attention paid to Burgundy wines in the run up to celebrations. Read more about that here.

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