Wine bubble or not, China demand for wine insatiable

on 21/12/10 at 12:34 pm


Is a wine bubble brewing in the South China Sea? The price of fine wines, like many commodities, is being determined by China – and demand from the country’s new millionaires remains insatiable. 

But it’s not only rising wealth that has caused a spike in Asian wine sales. Two years ago, Hong Kong scrapped all duty on wine and beer, becoming the centre of the world’s fine wine sales in the process.

The figures speak for themselves. Data released today shows that, of Sotheby’s 2010 total worldwide wine sales, 60pc occurred in Hong Kong. The auction house sold wine worth $88.3m (£56.8m) this year, of which $52.6m was in Hong Kong, $21m in London and $14.7m in New York.

In fact, the price of Lafite Rothschild 1982 has shot up by more than 60pc this year, according to wine blog Liv-ex. That’s compared with a rise of just 25pc for gold. Over the last 10 years, the price is up 1,000pc.

By Liv-ex calculations this means Lafite Rothschild 1982 is now worth eight times its weight in silver and costs the equivalent of half a tonne of copper.

“Gold is still more expensive than Lafite by weight, with one bottle of the First Growth equivalent in value to 4oz (123g). Yet despite the rapid appreciation of gold prices in recent years, the same bottle would each have been worth just 1.5oz (47g) 10 years ago,” it says.

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