Italy and Champagne offer the best investment opportunities; the ever-strong demand for iconic Burgundy labels will lead to growing interest in second-tier producers and the region’s most promising companies; the market is also challenging for Bordeaux labels, but caution and long-term vision are needed, which will reward investors; the trend to diversify from traditional investment regions should foster interest in Rhone, Chile and other emerging producers; and US wines will need a particularly rigorous selection. Here are the guidelines, in summary, of the report “Fine Wine Investment Outlook 2020” signed by the British investment fund Cult Wines, which advises, however, to diversify investments among the different wine regions, also because of the many risk factors, from duties to Brexit, passing through monetary fluctuations, which the sector will have to face, and which have already had tangible effects in 2019, such as the performance, below expectations, of the USA and Bordeaux. In this context, investing in the fine wines of Italy and Champagne is undoubtedly the least risky choice, but it is from Burgundy that, despite the decline recorded by the Burgundy 150 on the Liv-ex, the best surprises could come, focusing not on the inflated and saturated market of the most iconic labels, those of the first-tier labels, which have now reached valuations of at least £3,650 per bottle, up 25% in just two years, but on emerging second-tier producers, choosing vintages such as 2012, which show better margins than 2015 and 2016. Advice, those of Cult Wines, which certainly cannot ignore the data: between 2014 and 2019 Burgundy 150 grew by 96%, Champagne 50 by 47% and Italy 100 by 39%. From Bordeaux, however, the forecasts are not as optimistic: few labels will exceed expectations and the choice between producers and vintages will have to be highly selective. It will be useful to analyze the trend on the Asian market to understand the possibilities to be seized, but the clouds on the Gironde do not seem to be thinning out.
Going back to the vineyards of Champagne, the attractiveness is linked to relatively low prices, when compared to those of Burgundy and Bordeaux, which make French bubbles an excellent investment with a view to completing the portfolio, which can offer surprises, such as the amazing appreciation of old vintages such as 1990 (+576%), 1995 (+361%), 1996 (+301%) and 1999 (+161%). Speaking of diversification, going back to Italy, it will still be the Super Tuscans that will guarantee the best investments – Solaia, Tignanello and Sassicaia above all – and which, according to analysts, should represent 10% of the portfolio in the event of an aggressive strategy, that is aimed at maximizing earnings, obviously taking on a few more risks. In terms of affordable prices, low volatility and quality, however, the great labels of Barolo and Barbaresco are also worth the investment, on all those of Giacomo Conterno, Gaja and Bartolo Mascarello, which are starting to show important valuations without losing charm on the market.
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