Talking Trade – Finding stability with Champagne

Regional share of trade by value (13th March - 19th March)

Wine became a staple of the new working from home norm this week. Many shelves were emptied, and wine racks filled, in anticipation of being indoors for an extended period. Shoppers have since moved online to carry out additional purchases. Online retailer Naked wines have even had to, reportedly, temporarily postponed orders to get a grip on the sales traffic. Those able to supply the online world are reaping the benefits.

The wholesale fine wine market is no different. We noted an increase in trade volumes and value , albeit at slightly lower price levels. The LX50 slipped 0.52% this week.

Top 5: share of trade by value (13th March - 19th March)

Dom Perignon 2008 was the most traded wine by value this week. “The best Dom since 2002,” said critic James Suckling, awarding it 98 points. He added that the 2008 is “a vintage with very restrained, powerful style that has been released non-sequentially after the 2009.”

Champagne has historically performed well in uncertain times. Indeed it was Winston Churchill’s sickle of choice during wartime dinners. The Liv-ex Champagne 50 reflects that fortitude. The index held firm during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and remained so through the broader market downturn 2011-2014. As mainstream assets experience extreme levels of volatility, Champagne continues to hold steady.

Should En Primer postpone a year?

Rupert Millar of the Drinks Business suggests that the chateaux of Bordeaux should use this moment to think out of the box and present En Primeur wines after their elevage, releasing the 2019 vintage in the spring of 2021. This is not an idea without its pitfalls. Indeed, there are many who would take the opposite view with EP being such an important part of the wholesaler’s year. What we do know is that this year’s release is postponed and unlikely to be tasted by the international trade this side of the summer. Millar’s full proposal can be read here.

Keeping engaged from home

To say the past few weeks have been difficult for the fine wine trade would be a massive understatement. We have shared a few ways in which Liv-ex can help and how to make the best of things during these uncertain times.