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Discover the World of Fine Wines: 2023 Market Highlights

Written by - Cult Wines Investment Team

As the year 2023 drew to a close, we witnessed some remarkable changes in the fine wine market. We wanted to share a sneak peek of our detailed analysis, which is available in full on our website. The world of investment-grade wines, while experiencing a challenging year, still holds promise for the discerning investor.

Market Overview: In 2023, the fine wine market marked a departure from its previous three-year bull run, showing a decrease of over -6% in value. However, when we look at the bigger picture, wines still demonstrated positive returns over 3 and 5 years, suggesting a potential return to the long-term trend.

Regional Reversal: Champagne and Burgundy, which had previously been standout performers, saw a decline in prices in 2023. This reversal was partly due to supply shortages and a shift in demand dynamics.

Vintage Matters: The age of wine played a significant role in its performance, with younger vintages experiencing larger price declines. Older, more mature vintages showed resilience and retained their value.

Price-Performance Relationship: In a declining market, expensive bottles saw more substantial price drops. However, these wines still delivered impressive 3-year returns, indicating their potential as long-term investments.

Wine Spotlights: We've highlighted three wines that stood out in 2023: DRC, Jacques Selosse, and Tignanello. Each has its unique story and potential for the future.

Outlook for 2024: While 2023 posed challenges, the fine wine market could rebound in 2024, driven by expected interest rate cuts and a shift in investor sentiment. Opportunities may arise as prices realign with long-term expectations.

In the full report, we analysis the price change of 2,700 wines in 2023, (all vintages released over past 30 years), providing an in-depth understanding of the market's movements and trends. We invite you to explore the world of fine wines with us and discover the potential opportunities that lie ahead for 2024 and beyond.

Read the full report


News in brief

News 1


UK Government's Lavish Wine Expenditure Amid Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2022), the UK government consumed over 1,400 bottles of wine and spirits, incurring a taxpayer expense of £27,000 to replenish its strategic wine reserves. The Government Hospitality wine cellar, established post-WWI and located in Lancaster House, saw a drastic reduction in consumption in 2020-21, with only 130 bottles used, a 96% decrease from the previous year. Despite this, no wine sales were recorded in the same period, marking a shift from the pre-pandemic average annual sales of nearly £50,000. The cellar, valued at £3.66 million and guided by the Government Wine Committee, faces scrutiny for its lavish spending and sales strategy amidst a global crisis.

News 1


Gusbourne Appoints New CEO in Strategic Reshuffle

After an extensive search, Gusbourne, a prominent UK wine producer, has appointed Jonathan White as its new CEO. White, previously the marketing director, succeeds Charlie Holland. The company also announced significant changes in its leadership team, with Simon Bradbury becoming the chief commercial officer and Katharine Berry expanding her role to cover vineyard and wine operations. Chairman Jim Ormonde praised White's dedication and contribution to Gusbourne's growth. The appointments are part of Gusbourne's strategic evolution, reflecting its commitment to excellence and innovation in the wine industry.

News 1


MP Advocates for Australian Wine to Support Industry

Sir Charles Walker, a British MP, has called on citizens to show solidarity with Australia by purchasing "two or three bottles" of Australian wine. This appeal comes in response to the severe tariffs imposed by China on Australian wine, significantly impacting the industry. Sir Charles highlighted that Australian wine, including chardonnay and Shiraz, is featured on the House of Commons wine list, underscoring the quality and significance of the product. The suggestion aims to bolster support for Australian wine producers during these challenging times.


Sean Wright, Purchasing Assistant - Cult Wines - 2017 Moulin-à-Vent Les Rouchaux, Thibaut Liger-Belair

What we’re drinking

2017 Moulin-à-Vent Les Rouchaux, Thibaut Liger-Belair

Sean Wright, Purchasing Assistant - Cult Wines

  • • Beaujolais is considered by many a region that produces wines that are certainly fun and fresh but perhaps lack the structure and complexity to justify ageing, a description exemplified most clearly of all by the iconic 'nouveau'. Yet, in Moulin-à-Vent, a site with the potential to elude the region's reputation exists. Known as the "Lord of Beaujolais wines", wines from this sub-region tend to show more flavour intensity and greater ageing potential.

  • • The Liger-Belair family have deep roots in the Burgundy region, with an involvement in the region dating back over a century. Still, it was not until 2001 that Thibaut began to produce wine under his name from the family's vines, which had previously been sold to other producers.

  • • Thibault Liger-Belair is a primarily Burgundian producer famed in part for their emphasis on sustainability and a more 'natural' style of winemaking with vines certified as organic. This focus produces fruit-forward and full-bodied wines whilst still capturing a degree of minerality and representing a truer expression of terroir.

  • • Applying his expertise and winemaking style to Beaujolais and the perhaps under-respected Gamay grape variety, Thibault has unlocked the potential of Moulin-à-Vent. The result is a Beaujolais with a Burgundian twist. This deep red wine bursts with ripe red cherry flavour, perfectly balanced with a tantalizing nose of spice and herbs, sure to excite the palate and pique the audience's curiosity.


Our fine wine feature

Dry January: A sobering perspective

Written by - Alexa Atkinson, Web Designer - Cult Wines

January, synonymous with new beginnings and resolutions, has become increasingly associated with a growing health trend: Dry January. This movement, which involves abstaining from alcohol for the first month of the year, is not just a personal health choice for many but also a phenomenon with significant implications for the wine industry. This article delves into the reasons behind the popularity of Dry January, its psychological underpinnings, and how the wine industry is adapting, including a look at some no- to low-alcohol wine alternatives.

Why Participate in Dry January?

The primary motivation for many participating in Dry January is health. After the indulgences of the holiday season, it's a way to reset the body, improve sleep quality, and potentially lose weight. Additionally, it's seen as an opportunity for individuals to reassess their relationship with alcohol, promoting a more mindful approach to drinking.

Psychologically, Dry January aligns with the concept of a "fresh start." The new year provides a symbolic clean slate, making it an ideal time for adopting healthier habits.

Dry January: A sobering perspective

Furthermore, the social aspect of this collective endeavour creates a sense of community and support, making the challenge more manageable and less isolating. The practice of abstaining for a month can lead to significant positive changes in lifestyle and well-being, reinforcing the idea that Dry January is more than just a trend.

Benefits of participating in Dry January:
  • • Weight Loss and Caloric Reduction: With an average glass of wine containing around 120 calories and beer even more, abstaining from alcohol can contribute to weight loss, a common New Year's resolution.

  • • Financial Savings: Considering the amount people spend on alcohol annually, especially during holidays, Dry January can lead to notable financial savings.

  • • Improved Sleep Quality: Alcohol disrupts crucial REM sleep cycles, affecting overall health and mental well-being. Abstaining can enhance sleep quality, aiding in stress reduction and body repair.

  • • Long-term Reduction in Alcohol Consumption: Research indicates that those who engage in Dry January often continue to consume less alcohol in the following months, suggesting a durable shift in their drinking patterns.

  • • Enhanced Brain Health: Moderate alcohol use has been linked to brain damage and is a significant risk factor for dementia. Dry January can thus contribute positively to long-term brain health.

Impact on the Wine Industry

Traditionally reliant on steady consumption patterns, the wine industry faces a unique challenge during Dry January. However, many winemakers and retailers are adapting by diversifying their offerings to include no- to low-alcohol alternatives. This shift caters to those participating in Dry January and taps into a broader market seeking healthier lifestyle choices.

No- to Low-Alcohol Wine Alternatives

Red Wine Alternatives:
  • • Fre Alcohol-Removed Merlot: A great option for those who enjoy the depth of red wines, this alcohol-removed Merlot maintains the characteristic dark fruit flavours and hints of chocolate.

  • • Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon: This dealcoholized wine offers the rich flavours of black currant and cherry, typical of a traditional Cabernet but with less than 0.5% alcohol.

  • • Oddbird Low Intervention Organic Red: A non-alcoholic Merlot and Pinot Noir blend, originating from Breganze in the Veneto region of Italy, this 100% organic wine is a testament to innovation and craftsmanship.

White Wine Alternatives:
  • • Thomson & Scott Noughty: An alcohol-free organic Chardonnay, maintaining the balance and depth of flavour expected in a classic Chardonnay.

  • • Leitz Eins-Zwei-Zero Riesling: A refreshing and fruity non-alcoholic Riesling, perfect for those who enjoy a sweeter white wine.

  • • Surely Non-Alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc: A crisp and refreshing option that mimics a traditional Sauvignon Blanc's tropical and zesty flavours.

While Dry January is a month-long initiative, its impact often extends beyond. Participants frequently report a lasting change in their drinking habits, leading to a more mindful approach throughout the year. This trend has encouraged the wine industry to permanently include no- to low-alcohol options in their portfolios, acknowledging the growing demand for healthier and more diverse drinking options.

Whether you're participating in Dry January or simply seeking healthier options, the variety of alternatives available ensures that everyone can enjoy the ritual of a glass of wine, minus the alcohol.


Explore & travel

Discover China's Countryside Wineries

Written by - Joe Alim, Managing Director, Asia - Cult Wines

China's wine scene, as diverse and sprawling as its landscapes, offers a unique journey through serene vineyards nestled in the sprawling countryside. This exploration takes us through some of China's most notable wine destinations in rural areas, showcasing the richness of the country's wine culture away from the urban hustle.

In Ningxia, often referred to as China's Napa Valley, the renowned Helan Qingxue Vineyard stands as a testament to the region's wine prowess. This vineyard is celebrated for its award-winning Jia Bei Lan wine. The vineyard tours offer insights into the meticulous winemaking process set against the backdrop of the majestic Helan Mountains.

In Yunnan, the Shangri-La Winery offers a serene retreat. The winery is unique for its high-altitude vineyards, which contribute to the distinct flavour profile of its wines. Surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, it offers a tranquil escape and an opportunity to taste some of China's most distinctive wines, including their celebrated high-altitude Cabernet Sauvignon.

Lesser known to an international audience but very important in the pantheon of Chinese wine-growing regions are Hebei & Xinjiang.

Discover China's Countryside Wineries

In northern China, Hebei Province encompasses two significant areas: Shacheng and Changli. Shacheng, known as the birthplace of Chinese dry white wine, benefits from its proximity to Beijing and a drier climate. This region's wines are a testament to China's long history of winemaking, with each bottle telling a story of the land and its people. Changli, on the other hand, faces challenges due to high humidity but is renowned for producing the first Chinese dry red wine.

Notable wineries in Hebei include Great Wall Winery, established in 1983, and Canaan Winery – voted one of the world's best vineyards in the 2023 global awards ceremony – quite the accolade! A newer estate on the scene that is gaining more attention is Domaine Franco Chinois, which is unusual in comparison to other estates across the region as they are producing Pinot Noir.

Moving to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, it ranks as the most extensive wine grape-producing region in China by volume. The region consists of two primary areas: the Manas Basin and Yanqi Basin, both characterized by continental climates. Tiansai Vineyards in the Manas Basin focuses on sustainability and cultivates international grape varieties. Domaine Liao Wines in the Yanqi Basin is a boutique winery acclaimed for its premium wines. Xinjiang's wine industry is thriving, with Tiansai Vineyards and Domaine Liao Wines exemplifying the region's potential for producing high-quality wines.

Each location offers a unique perspective on Chinese wine, focusing on the harmony between traditional methods and the natural environment. The wines from these regions are not just beverages but stories of the land and the people who cultivate them.

From the tranquil hills of Yunnan to the lush vineyards of Ningxia and beyond, China's wine landscape offers a journey of contrasts. For travellers and wine lovers, exploring these destinations provides a deeper understanding of China's evolving wine culture and rich regional diversity. Whether enjoying a delicate white amidst the natural beauty of Ningxia or savouring a robust red in the serene vineyards of Yunnan, the journey through China's countryside wine regions promises an enriching and unforgettable experience.


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