By Joanne Hart, Financial Mail on Sunday
Published 24 August 2013
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Buying shares in a wine producer is one way to invest in wine. Buying vintage bottles is another. Over the past 25 years, fine wine has risen in value by an average of almost 12 per cent a year, a trend that is likely to continue for some time.

Supplies are limited as top wines can be made only from vineyards in specific areas. Yet demand is rising, as growing numbers of wealthy Asian consumers purchase fine wine.

Some investors believe that only the very rich can invest in fine wine. But IG Wines allows individuals to start off with a holding of as little as £250 and still gain access to investable goods.

In recent months, certain fine wines have had a rough ride, particularly luxury premier cru Bordeaux. These are the wines of choice for the Chinese and, for a while, they chased prices up as high as £8,000 a bottle, sometimes more.

A clampdown on government expenses in China and the global slowdown injected an element of reality into the market, sending top Bordeaux prices tumbling by about 30 per cent over the past two years. Other wines have delivered a very different performance.

Top wines from Burgundy, California and Tuscany have all risen substantially in value, with Tuscan reds soaring 70 per cent in the past five years. After recent falls Bordeaux wine is looking much more attractive too and prices have begun to stabilise.

IG Wines offers clients a chance to buy a wide range of these wines, store them and sell them when the time is right. The company has its own trading platform, which shows clients how their wines are performing at any given time. It also provides advice on which wines to buy and sends alerts to customers when prices go up or down by certain amounts.

IG Wines stores the wine in purpose-made warehouses. Wine held in storage, known as ‘in bond’, is exempt from VAT and duty so customers only have to pay those if they decide to drink their investments.

MIDAS VERDICT: Buying wine offers an interesting way for investors to diversify their portfolios so they are not wholly reliant on shares and bonds. IG Wines allows customers to become involved in this market without breaking the bank. Worth a punt.