Allegrini 2018

Wine collecting is growing. But it only represents 1% of the assets of major collectors

It emerges from the survey “Collectors and the value of art in Italy - 2022” by Intesa San Paolo Private Banking and the fair “Artissima”
Wine is only 1% of collectors’ assets (ph: Dmitry Limonov via Unsplash)

Great collector wines have existed for many years. But, if we look closely, it is relatively recent, a couple of decades, that fine wine, initially almost exclusively French, then increasingly Italian, and not only that, has become a real alternative investment asset. It has grown in popularity, partly because it has outperformed other segments. This is recounted by, among others, the “Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index”, which brings together collectors’ items such as watches, art, coins, rare whiskies, bags, cars, jewelry and diamonds. It shows that while the overall return on these assets over 10 years has been +123%, wine has seen a growth of +137%. And wine collectors still have a lot of room for maneuver, because, among the assets owned by major collectors, they account for just 1% of the total, in a “basket” made up of 21% paintings and pictures, 17% photographs, 16.4% sculptures, 16.4% sculptures and diamonds, 16.4% sculptures, 16% drawings and works on paper, as well as installations (6.4%), books (6%), design objects (+5%), jewelry and watches (4%), video art (4%), vintage cars and motorbikes (2%) and digital art and NFT (1%). This emerges from “Collectors and the value of art in Italy - 2022”, a survey promoted by Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking, in collaboration with the Art, Culture and Historical Heritage Department and the Studies and Research Department of Intesa Sanpaolo and the “Artissima” fair (and published by Edizioni Gallerie d’Italia - Skira). From which we can also see a sort of “identikit” of the collector. Data (based on the responses of 256 collectors out of the 4,741 on Artissima’s VIP Collectors List) reveal that collectors live mainly in northern regions: more than 50% in Lombardy and Piedmont, but collecting is widespread throughout the country, as 582 different places of residence were recorded, with a predominance - not surprising - of large urban centers, since more than half of the collectors living in Italy live in just three cities, headed by Milan, Turin and Rome. Moreover, the social visibility and public recognition of Italian collectors is growing: patrons and philanthropists have grown by 8.4% in the last 4 years and private museum founders have increased by 10.5% in the same period. Moreover, it emerges that more than 70% of the sample is made up of “professional” collectors, characterized by long experience, non-occasional purchasing behavior and eclectic collections (made up, on average, of 4 different types of goods). The majority of collectors buy on average less than 10 new works per year and their acquisition budgets remain below €100,000 in 85% of cases, with a preference for Contemporary and/or Post-War art, while only a minority collect Modern art. 86% of collectors manage their collection themselves and only 8% use a consultant or art advisory services. More than half of collectors keep their collection at home, followed by other places of ownership (14% in a company, 13% elsewhere) and storage (15%). In most cases, the collections are not accessible to the public. An important target, for a narrow niche of wine labels from all over the world. Which, as the figures show, starting from the 1% they represent in today’s collections, can still grow a lot.

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