After Gold, Art & Wine, China’s Collectors Stock Up On Vintage Baijiu

on 16/11/11 at 4:13 pm

Booze News

“Moutai has become China’s Louis Vuitton”.

The emergence of Chinese collectors as a major force in the wine auction market may be pushing prices for top Bordeaux and Burgundy vintages higher and higher, but in China, their appetite for new investments has caused prices for high-end baijiu — traditional Chinese distilled spirits — to skyrocket. As Jing Daily wrote this February, the baijiu auction market is booming in mainland China, with rare vintages regularly selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars amid frenzied bidding. As Liu Yuan, general secretary of the National Association for Liquor and Spirits Circulation, recently said, this partly boils down to the pedigree, price and long history of the top baijiu brands, particularly Maotai. Said Liu, “Moutai has become China’s Louis Vuitton…Given the limited output and steep price, it’s a good way for officials to curry favor and for the rich to show off their wealth.”

As we pointed out this summer, baijiu’s boom-times show no sign of stopping any time soon. At a Xiling auction house sale last December in Hangzhou, a bottle of 1958 Maotai sold for 1.4 million yuan (US$229,453), while China Guardian sold another bottle from 1958 for 910,000 yuan (US$143,410) just a few days later. With domestic Chinese auction houses scouring the country for rare vintage bottles over the past 18 months, we’ve seen prices trend even higher in 2011.

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