The last couple of years have established a pattern of tumultuous first quarters and Q1 2023 is no exception. The Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapse tested the wine market for weaknesses, and it was not found wanting. As uncertainty keeps rising alternative investments such as wine become even more appealing than usual.
Wine revenue numbers were strong during this quarter, amounting to US$333.00bn in 2023. The market is expected to grow annually by 5.52% (CAGR 2023-2027). Price performance on the other hand was more muted, with the wine market overall consolidating. There has, however, been high performers such as 2021 Burgundy and 2020 Italian wines that showed considerable growth.
|Index||YTD||1 Year||2 Year||5 Year|
|Brent Crude Oil||-1,98%||28.81%||10.66%||2.12%|
The Financial Market in Q1 2023
In March, the failure of SVB and other regional banks in the US sparked fears of contagion in the financial industry. The result was a brief scare for the Californian winemakers that relied on SVB for operational loans and day to day transactions, as well as the demise of First Republic Bank.
Whilst weak growth and inflation are likely contributing to the sensitivity in wine markets, the US banking crisis and shifts in central bank outlooks appeared to have little immediate impact on prices.
|Date||Liv-Ex 100||Dow Jones IA||FTSE 100||Nikkei 225||Brent Crude||Gold Price||SPX 500|
*Month over month change
Despite the volatility in banking, Eurozone stocks saw remarkable gains in the first quarter of 2023, with growth driven by tech, consumer discretionary and communication services.
Equally, UK stock markets saw a rise during this quarter. Sectors affected by economic activity fared better compared to other markets, helped by expectations of central banks reducing interest rates by late 2023. However, the Bank of England still predicts that the nation will enter recession later in 2023.
The end of COVID and China’s Reopening
China’s gross domestic product expanded 4.5% on year in the first quarter, thanks to strong growth in exports and infrastructure. Property prices also drove a recovery in the world’s second-largest economy. The reopening of China bodes well for the wine sector which will benefit from the unused funds that had been locked up and stagnated by the global pandemic due to the limited activity of the hospitality sector.
At the beginning of 2022, when much of the West reopened, large amounts of this unused capital was directed to purchasing goods and services. The reopening resulted in sizeable sales of a wide range of wines including Bordeaux, Burgundy, Super Tuscans, and Champagne. We anticipate an increase in trade for the second quarter of this year, with a more significant revival in the second half.
Wine Performance in Q1 2023
|Index||YTD||1 Year||2 Year||5 Year|
Wine investments are still delivering stability and tax efficient returns, where other assets are likely to remain volatile and unpredictable. Price correction in the market, and in Champagne in particular since Q4 2022, means there are some discounted wines in the market offering great value in Q2 2023.
Trade numbers were strong while price performance remained steady. Fine wine values remained relatively static in Q1 with some price drift. There were pockets of growth in January and February influenced by the Burgundy 2021 vintage releases and Italian 2020 wines entering the market.
|Date||Liv-Ex 100||BDX 500||BGDY 150||CHAM 50||RHO 100||ITAL 100|
*Month over month change
Wine Regional Performances
The 2021 En Primeur campaign was a testament to Burgundy’s superiority in the fine wine market. It highlighted that Burgundy continues to stand out from the rest of its competitors. The 2021 vintage saw tiny production due to a series of unforgiving frosts, but global demand unabated and price rises were absorbed. Back vintages look underpriced, and we can expect 2021 prices to pull these up.
Bordeaux prices ended the quarter lower, following a 0.5% drop in March that unwound February gains. This may have stemmed in part from people taking profits and freeing-up cash ahead of the 2022 En Primeur campaign for what’s anticipated to be an exceptional vintage. More information on the campaign and all the latest releases can be found at our Bordeaux En Primeur 2022 homepage here.
Following Champagne’s explosive growth, the region experienced a decrease in prices, which is to be expected after such a rise. Prolonged periods of meteoric growth are not sustainable and can lead to over speculation.
According to the Liv-ex indices, the Champagne region has seen impressive annual returns since mid-2020, recording increases of 52.5% in 2021 and 49.4% in 2022. After a slight dip in March this year, the region regained its upward momentum and it appears to be a period of accumulation prior to further growth.
Over the first quarter there was a 3.1% drop for the California 50 Index. This falls in line with broader wine market trends as January was quite muted in terms of both trade and price performance.
|Wine||MoM||YTD||1 Year||2 Year||5 Year|
|Opus One 2013||0.0%||4.1%||21.7%||30.0%||28.1%|
|Screaming Eagle 2014||-4.1%||-6.3%||-0.2%||49.6%||67.1%|
Italy and Super Tuscans
In April, Tuscany saw the value of its trade grow to 11.1% of the total. Notable wines from the area included Super Tuscans Ornellaia 2020, released earlier in April, and Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido 2017.
Overall, the Super Tuscans have been the driving force behind the growth in trade. The price performance on the other hand was mixed. Both month over month and Q1 performance has been in line with the overall market cooling down, coupled up with many collectors liquidating their stock to prepare for En Primeur 2022, this results in the drop in price.
Nonetheless, when looking at longer time frames Super Tuscans still provide great returns as demonstrated in the table below.
|Wine||MoM||Q1||1 Year||2 Year||5 Year|
Q2 2023 Outlooks
Overall, it looks like the financial markets have a lot of work to do in the second half of the year.
However, it appears that the period of monetary tightening is coming to an end and some investors are now expecting increases in key economic indicators to fuel a sustainable market rally. Furthermore, U.S. stocks have been trading at a lower rate than their estimated value of worth, making them quite attractive investments.
The Wine Sector
Fine wine market may continue to move sideways in the near term. Rallies have historically given way to periods of price consolidation that last a few months. The challenging macroeconomic backdrop also means buyers may be more price conscious.
However, we do not expect any sustained downturn and should see a pick-up at some stage this year. Historically, January is the weakest month for performance. Price appreciation typically picks up in the summer months, potentially helped by Bordeaux EP as well as more active hospitality sectors.
Additionally, the boost in demand from China in early 2023 should continue and lift the outlook for Bordeaux and Burgundy in particular. Improving economies and potentially lower interest rates in Western countries could further stimulate demand.
As the second quarter of the year goes on, we believe that wine markets will rally along with conventional markets fueled by the improvement in key economic factors.
When it comes to risk-reward, wine is still a top pick due to the below 10% risk – and in the case of Burgundy 12% reward – compared to the S&P 500 which is universally considered a safe and reasonable choice, with a 16% risk to 7% return.
In the long term, wine is still a brilliant, safe, insulated and tax-efficient asset that provides great returns year after year to those who are fortunate enough to invest. It consistently outperforms established indices of countries like the UK, Japan and the US, and offers a lower risk to reward ratio on average. The recent performance numbers are completely in line with the broader market performance.