Wine investors raise a glass to the 2009 Bordeaux

A single critic has helped lift a seemingly corked market, but will it be enough to sustain returns, asks Julian Knight

It's strange to think of the US critic Robert Parker coming to the rescue of the wine industry but that's effectively what he did last week. The critic, whose judgement and scoring have been known to make or break the world's great wines, gave a perfect 100 score to 19 wines from Bordeaux's 2009 vintage. This marks it as one of the greatest vintages of all time, and not before time for a wine market in dire straits.

"Prices of many vintage wines had fallen by up to 30 per cent since the heights of early 2011. A bubble in the market was created – driven in part by new demand from Asia – by a massive rise of 75 per cent in just two years from 2009," Chris Smith, an analyst at the Wine Investment Fund said.

A combination of factors hit the market in 2011, such as the deepening eurozone crisis, and a slowdown in China which has become the hub of wine speculation. "The truth is that in late 2011 no one wanted to be the person holding wine at the top of the market, so we saw price falls, particularly in Lafitte which is still the choice of wine for the Chinese market," says Gary Boom, the co-founder of London wine merchants Bordeaux Index.

But, Parker's 2009 scores has turned things around. "There were dramatic rises in the prices of some wines given the 100 score. Literally within 24 hours, some 2009 wines rose 65 per cent," says Peter Lunzer, the chief executive of Lunzer Wine Investments.

Wine investment group Vin-X estimated that Parker's scores added a staggering $100m to the value of the 2009 vintage, which may trickle down to other years. "People may have missed the boat with 2009, but I'm optimistic about the rest of 2012. A really outstanding year and a price surge tends to filter through to other vintages which look good value compared with the now highly priced 2009," Mr Boom says. "The 1996, 2000, 2003 and 2005 vintages have fallen in price and now look good value."

But Mr Lunzer reckons the surge in 2009 prices is a little false: "We are seeing big swings in price off the back of a very small stock actually available for sale. I prefer slightly older wines for investment as they are being drunk now, therefore supply is going down and prices should follow. Take the 1996 vintage it is currently the same cost as the 2009 vintage, but is drinkable now while the 2009 is not."

Mr Smith also recommends wine of more than five years, rather than more modern vintages, which are often bought en primeur – still in the barrel.

There are different ways to invest in wine: directly through a broker or through a wine investment fund. Brokers, who will store bottles in a bonded warehouse for a fee, will build a portfolio for individual investors, whereas for a minimum investment, usually £10,000, a fund pools investors' cash to buy a stock of wine with the intention of making a profit at resale. To build a substantial, diversified portfolio, £50,000 is considered necessary, but Vin-X reports a rise in small investors, with a few thousand pounds to invest.

Whatever the method, wine investment is not for the faint-hearted, or for those who can not afford to lose money. "You have to do your homework," says Mr Lunzer. "Websites such as and are great resources to guard against scammers and to check your broker's picks."

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: HR Benefits Manager

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

    Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

    £30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

    Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

    £250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

    Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

    £230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower