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 winesearcher.com and investdrinks.org are great resources to guard against scammers and to check your broker's picks."

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

    SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

    Day In a Page

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'