Got a cheeky couple of bottles of 1982 Château Pichon Lalande tucked away, or two cases of the fabulous 1998 Château de Beaucastel, and you're not sure whether to sell one to finance the other?

Got a cheeky couple of bottles of 1982 Château Pichon Lalande tucked away, or two cases of the fabulous 1998 Château de Beaucastel, and you're not sure whether to sell one to finance the other? Apart from Decanter magazine's wine tracker ( www.decanter.com), which gives historic monthly prices, there's been precious little information to help you work out your wine's current market value. Until now, that is.

Liv-ex, an internet-based electronic fine- wine exchange comprising more than 100 wine merchants from the UK, US, Europe and Asia, has recently launched the Liv-ex 100 fine-wine index. The index is a blue-chip wine index based on live screen prices, as opposed to auction prices. It tracks 100 top "investment" wines, selected on the basis of critical acclaim (usually a high Robert Parker score) and trade liquidity, in other words how often the wine is traded on the Liv-ex exchange.

The index is calculated from the current wholesale bid/offer prices as they appear on the exchange, giving it up-to-the-minute relevance. Not surprisingly, the index is skewed towards Bordeaux with almost three-quarters of its wines from the world's biggest fine-wine region. It also includes the top wines of Burgundy, Rhône, Champagne, Italy and Australia.

Liv-ex offers a number of other useful services. For £39.95 plus VAT, you can subscribe to www.liv-ex.com and get a monthly market report; and, for £75, you also get a price book twice a year, with over 200 top wines, focusing on vintages back to 1982.

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