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FINE WINES

“Liv-Ex Power 100” 2023: Gaja (number 7), Giuseppe Rinaldi and Tignanello Antinori the top Italian wines

Giacomo Conterno, Ornellaia, Biondi Santi, Bruno Giacosa, Roagna, Tenuta San Guido, Vietti, Masseto, Montevertine and Quintarelli are in the ranking

The “black year” for Liv-Ex is continuing unabated, and following years of tumultuous growth, is now witnessing a significant decrease, often in double figures, of all the main indices (Italy, although “at a loss”, is doing better than average). The “Liv-Ex Power 100” 2023 recently published, demonstrates this trend and points out that the market is substantially normalizing, after the tumultuous growth over the past few years, registering around -12% decline in the main indices compared to 2022. Regarding the first three top wine brands, there was a small revolution in 2022, as Domaine Leflaive was number 1, Chateau d’Yquem number 2, and Meo Camuzet number 3, ahead of the Californian, Opus One at number 4, Joseph Drouhin at number 5, Cheval Blanc at number 6, and Gaja, the first Italian brand in the ranking, at number 7 (that made a significant jump from position number 38 in 2022). The top 10 continued with Henri Boillot at number 8, Angelus at number 9 and Leroy at number 10. Burgundy continues to dominate at the territorial level, boasting 37 wines in the top 100, but it lost 2 in 2022, while Bordeaux was the Region that gained the most, 5, for a total of 30. In the meantime, Italy has added one for 2022, and holds third position, counting 13 wines (following its record 17 wines in 2020). Tuscany has had 7.2% share on the Liv-Ex market in 2022-2023 , compared to 6.8% in 2021-2022, and Piedmont instead dropped to 3.5% from 5% in the previous ranking.
On the Italian wine ranking, the Barolo brand, Giuseppe Rinaldi, follows Gaja, in position number 15 (it was Nr. 85 in 2022), while Antinori’s Tignanello has risen to number 20 (from Nr. 49 in 2022). Giacomo Conterno, “the home of Barolo Monfortino” is at number 27, (from Nr. 32, in 2022), while Ornellaia, of the Frescobaldi Group, is in position number 34 (from Nr. 80 in 2022), ahead of Biondi Santi, cradle of Brunello di Montalcino and now owned by the EPI Group of the Descours Family, at number 35, boasting an extraordinary leap from position number 134 in 2022. Bruno Giacosa holds position number 44 (from Nr. 60 in 2022), while Langhe, Roagna is at number 46 (jumping from 158 in 2022). Scrolling further through the list of Italian brands in the “Top 100”, Tenuta San Guido is in position number 57 (compared to Nr. 30 in 2022), followed by Vietti at number 62, from (rising from 117 in 2022), and then Masseto, again by Frescobaldi at number 73 (compared to Nr. 40 in 2022). Montevertine is at number 81, rising from position Nr. 135 in 2020. Finally, the last of the Italian brands, the icon of Valpolicella, namely Giuseppe Quintarelli is in position number 89 (compared to Nr. 84 in 2022).
“The weakness of the market makes the 2023 ranking especially interesting. The brands that headed the market until the peak in October 2022, are now feeling the effects of the adjustment. Buyers have sharpened their focus to reflect greater risk aversion, and they are looking for stable, liquid brands that offer relative value, which favors Bordeaux over Burgundy and California”, Justin Gibbs, Deputy Chairman & Exchange Director of Liv-ex commented. “In a context of growing risk aversion, buyers from Burgundy and California have narrowed down their attention to the best brands. The natural beneficiary of this situation was Bordeaux, which is the best understood and least risky market. The Region gained five wines on the Power 100. Limited price performance has hampered major producers of red Burgundy reds, while brands that have a high number of wines, especially producers of white Burgundy wines, have thrived in this edition of the Power 100. Unlike last year, 54 brands in the “Power 100” registered negative price performance.
Observing those in the top 100 wineries who have climbed positions, as mentioned above, in Italy they were Roagna, Biondi Santi, Giuseppe Rinaldi, Vietti and Montevertine. Other Italian brands are moving right behind them, though, such as Isole and Olena, in the Chianti Classico, which from June 2022 is part of the EPI Group (like Biondi Santi), rising to number 137 (gaining 214 positions), Miani, from Friuli Venezia Giulia, rose to number 170 (+204), and also Stella di Campalto, in Montalcino, at Nr. 134 (+162), Lorenzo Accomasso, from Piedmont, at Nr. 178 (+158) and Felsina, again in Chianti Classico, at Nr. 257 (+137).
This is what the 2023 “Power 100” of Liv-Ex has told us, calculated by looking at all the wines; i.e., all the wines traded on Liv-ex over the last year (from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023), grouped by brand, and identified brands that had marketed at least 3 wines or vintages achieving a total commercial value of at least 10.000 Sterling Pounds. The brands, Liv-Ex explained, are classified according to four criteria: annual price performance (based on the market price of a case of wine on October 1, 2022 and the market price on September 30, 2023); commercial performance on Liv-ex (by value and volume); number of wines and vintages marketed, and the average price of a brand’s wines. The ranking reflects a profound change of direction in the fine wine market, according to the platform based in London, one of the world capitals of this market segment. And, it is also where Adam Lechmere, wine writer and industry expert, expounded some interesting reflections at “Wine2Wine”, recently held in Verona.
“Fine wines are very special wines. They are linked to the vineyard where they are created and to the producer who creates them. They are produced in a few bottles a year, have the characteristic of knowing how to age over time, and see their value grow over the years. The market is now in a bit of a decline, but according to an “HSBC Bank” survey, for instance, 96% of managers in the UK expect demand to grow again, exceeding that of other luxury assets”. Nevertheless, besides the Liv-Ex platform and collectibles, there are dynamics that cannot be underestimated, such as inflation and the loss of purchasing power that many people have suffered, which leads to redefining the channels. “In Europe, restaurants make up 30% of wine sales by volume. In this context, we must also consider that many restaurants are closing. In the UK alone, during the pandemic period, about 14% of restaurants, and 6% of starred restaurants closed. Those who continue to stay open are reviewing wine lists and streamlining them. Criteria such as environmental and social sustainability, organic and craftsmanship are requested more and more when looking at fine wines, but they are not yet a fundamental prerequisite. However, the share of vegan restaurants is growing, for instance, in fine dining, and it is a theme that one must look at from a food-wine pairing perspective. Furthermore, low and no alcohol wines are growing, which in the United Kingdom are already on the menus of over 20 Michelin starred restaurants”.
There are many small signs of change, according to Lechmere, which added to other factors will influence the future of the wine market, as well as that of fine wines. “I’m thinking about climate change, when colder Regions will become more important in many countries, such as Italy, and I’m thinking about Etna, as well as the colder regions in Spain, Australia, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Germany. There is greater attention to environmental sustainability and health, while organic and biodynamics will become more and more important. We will then have to evaluate the impact of Artificial Intelligence, and of increasingly accessible trading platforms, even in wine. Further, the consumer base will change. Now, those who buy fine wines are mainly wealthy and mature men, whereas in the future there will be more and more women, and more and more will be under 35”.

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