Wine news v5

Fine wine news roundup: 22-28 May


Bordeaux 2020 releases continue apace

More high-profile chateaux have made their 2020 releases these week. Notable labels include:

  • Batailley 2020, released at £337 per case of 12 – up 3.9% on the 2019 release
  • Chateau Branaire Ducru 2020, released at £372 per case of 12 – up 6.9% on 2019’s offering
  • Chateau Cantemerle 2020, released at £218 per case of 12 – up 1.9% on 2019’s release price
  • Chasse-Spleen 2020, released at £244 per case of 12 – up 4.2% on last year
  • Domaine de L’Eglise 2020, released at £332 per case of 12 – up 5%
  • La Lagune 2020, released at £324 per case of 12 – up 10% on 2019’s opening price
  • Tertre 2020, released at £328 per case of 12 – a 7.1% increase on the 2019 release


New record set for £21,222 bottle of 1821 Grand Constance

An extremely rare bottle of Grand Constance 1821 – one of only 12 in existence – sold for a record-breaking £21,222 at the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction this week.

The sweet wine – part of an allocation originally earmarked for Napoleon Bonaparte – was purchased by a UK-based Christie’s client, and far surpassed its £4,000-£6,500 pre-sale estimate.

Elsewhere in the livestreamed sale – which made a total £112,000 – top lots included DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2016, and a Cabernet Collective 2009 mixed case, which sold for £1,086.

Auction director Niël Groenewald commented: “Following a year that has impacted the South African wine industry like no other, the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction showcased the tenacious spirit of the country’s winemakers, and the massive favour they carry with wine enthusiasts globally.”


South Africa reports ‘exceptional’ bumper harvest

South Africa’s 2021 harvest has been classed as ‘exceptional’, according to the Vinpro South African Wine Harvest report, which also celebrates this year’s bumper crop. The report states that, thanks largely to cool temperatures, high rainfall and late harvesting, this year’s crop is 8.9% larger than 2020.

The later timing of the harvest also helped to ease pressure on producers still holding onto stock as a result of the 2020 ban on exports and restrictions on local sales. The report therefore brings welcome relief to South African wine producers following a year of hardship catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic and international disagreements.

“We are delighted that the 2021 harvest has proved to be a silver lining for the South African wine industry,” said Siobhan Thomas, CEO of Wines of South Africa. “What stands out is the consistency in quality. Already in 2021 our exports in both volume and value terms are out-performing figures from 2020 and 2019.”


Fine wine holds increasing appeal for women and young people

An increasing number of women and young people are taking an interest in fine wine, a new study shows.

The research from Areni-Global, The Future of Fine Wine Consumers 2021, reveals that the fine wine landscape has seen a surge of activity from women, with Sotheby’s reporting an increase of up to 22% at some of their auction locations.

The average age of fine wine consumers is also becoming lower. Quoted in the report is Sotheby’s worldwide head Jamie Richie, who said: “We’re getting a number of 30 and 40-year old bidders. When I joined in 1990, the average age was 65. Now we average more like 40 across our markets.” Indeed, some 38% of the participants of the research’s quantitative study were below the age of 35.

The report indicates that younger consumers are more likely to respond to fine wine descriptions such as ‘natural’, ‘exciting’ and ‘romantic’, compared to older buyers who associate fine wine with terms such as ‘heritage’ and ‘elegance’. Unsurprisingly, younger consumers are also more likely to purchase wine online or via an app.

The report also found that fine wine continued to perform strongly even amid the coronavirus pandemic, largely because high-wealth individuals purchased more special wines to drink at home. The report shows that even with a slight drop in sales at the beginning of lockdowns, the total value of bids and offers reached a record high of £83 million by the end of 2020 – a £33 million increase on 2019.

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