Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Study finds out that wine can lower rate of depression in women

A scientific study has shown that the risk of depression in women is lowered if they are moderate wine drinkers. 

Over 13,000 people in Spain were used in the study - known as the SUN project - over the course of ten years. University graduates without depression were used. The outcome was based on a doctor's diagnosis. 

The women had a much higher rate of depression than men, but for women drinking roughly one glass of wine a day, the risk of depression was far lower. 

Although no major differences were seen depending on type of drink consumed, the majority of the test subjects reported that they drank red wine. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Burgundy 2011 en primeur

Allen Meadows, the world's leading
 voice on Burgundy wines
In the past few months there has been a significant rise in interest in fine wine from Burgundy. So the 2011 en primeur Burgundies are bound to attract attention.

With Burgundies breaking records all over the world at auctions, 2013 may be the year that Bordeaux finds a regional rival to try to take the crown of being the most treasured French wine region.

Here at Capital Vintners we often offer the very best Burgundies, including Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (often referred to simply as DRC). Burgundies have in particular been performing exceptionally well at wine auctions in New York and Hong Kong.

We will be following this region's market performance closely in the next few months.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Nigeria is now Africa’s second largest economy in Africa and will be the world’s fourth most populous nation by 2050. More importantly it has been reported that Nigeria’s wine industry will reach £230 million by 2015.

With an economy that is finding its feet – GDP has increased from $46 billion in 2000 to $247 billion in 2011 - and a growing middle class, Nigeria is one of the most exciting emerging markets in the world.

Nigeria is predicted to be the world’s second fastest-growing Champagne market between 2011 and 2016 (strong Champagne sales are generally a good economic factor for prosperity). With Europe struggling to make its way out of recessions, double-dip recessions and economic stagnation, the fine wine market must look to the economies that are going strong.

60 per cent of the Nigerian market is from European sales. With a soaring GDP, a wealthy middle class evolving, petroleum assets all over the country, and an obvious thirst for fine wine (in particular Champagne), Nigeria is sure to be a target for many savvy wine investment companies, including Capital Vintners, in the coming years. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Parker steps down as editor-in-chief of Wine Advocate

Robert Parker Jr – the world’s most renowned wine critic – has stepped down as editor-in-chief of the influential publication, the Wine Advocate.

A percentage of the magazine has been sold to three Asian investors (unnamed so far). The Wine Advocate headquarters will remain in America, but a large office will be set up in Singapore, a move which further adds to the current trend of an Asian booming market. With Hong Kong now the fine wine auction capital of the world and China and India increasing their imports every year, Parker is simply following the natural order.  

Parker said: "The Asian market has come of age in the last decade or so, and it would be unrealistic not to expect to be part of it."

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW will take over from Parker as editor. She is Parker’s Singapore-based Asia correspondent, therefore a perfect fit to fill his shoes. The magazine will look to shift its focus over to the Asian market.  

The Wine Advocate now has over 50,000 subscribers. There will no longer be a print edition of the magazine; it will only be available in online form. With the introduction of an office in Singapore, this subscription rate is bound to increase in the coming years.

Parker will remain the Wine Advocate’s CEO and owner of the brand for the time being.

Specialising in fine Bordeaux wines, Parker has been the industry’s most respected critic for over thirty years. Parker has won countless awards across the globe for his knowledge and palate. His points system is ubiquitous in the fine wine market. 


Rhône wines to be the next boom in Asia?

A Hong Kong auction at Sotheby’s last weekend may have signified a further string to the Asian fine wine market’s bow being added as Rhône Valley wines fared very well.

On December 8 the auction’s highlights included a 1961 Hermitage La Chapelle from Rhône, which sold for £13,700 a bottle, 165 per cent higher than the estimate. Jaboulet Ainé wines from the last 60 years raised £270,000.

It is clear that he Asian investment market is really branching out into areas other than traditional Bordeaux. As palates develop, so too do the portfolios. Asian buyers are looking for wines that stand out

This boost to sales in Rhône Valley wines in Asia is corroborated by the latest Liv-Ex Cellar Watch Market Report, which reported that these wines accounted for 2.2 per cent of all wine trades in November.  In 2010 their share was less than one per cent.

Rhône exports to China saw an increase of 140 per cent in volume in 2011. At Capital Vintners we have branched out into the finest Rhône Valley wines, including La Mouline, La Landonne and  La Turque.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Yet another Bordeaux estate bought by Chinese tycoon

The Chinese taste for buying up French wine estates has not ceased, with news of yet another Chinese businessman buying Chateau Bellefont-Belcier.  

More importantly Bellefont-Belcier has Grande Cru Classe status, making it the first one under Chinese ownership.  

Herve Olivier, the regional director of SAFER - a government agency that oversees rural land development - believes that there is the possibility that ten more chateaux could be sold to Chinese buyers by the end of the year, provided bureaucratic obstacles 

Chateau Bellefont-Belchier is a prestigious estate in the St Emilion with 13 hectares of vines. It is thought that the deal was around two million euros per hectare. 

The Chateau had been on the market for a number of years. This September there was a re-classification of St Emilion wines, making Bellefont-Belchier more desirable.     

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Chateau Cos d'Estournel 
After China blew the roof off the fine wine market in 2010, the industry has been looking for the next big economy to lead the way. It might have found that economy in the shape of India.

The Indian wine market has been growing at around 25-30 per cent annually and, according to experts, will continue to do so for the next five to ten years. India is now a country of 1.2 billion people, only second in size to China, so the potential is massive if wines get inside the vast country. At the moment the per person per year consumption of wine stands at a measly 9 ml (about two teaspoons). So there is clearly space to expand.    

It is thought that as much as 80 per cent of wine consumption in India is confined to the very large cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. The countryside sees next to no consumption at the moment.

Specific chateaux have tried to ingratiate themselves with the Indian market. For example, Mouton Rothschild employed the Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor to design their 2009 label. Cos D'estournel has a rich history with Asia. The Indian upper classes were introduced to the UK's love of Bordeaux wine in the 19th century, especially Cos, with its Indian elephant logo and Zanzibar-themed chateau.

Capital Vintners will keep a close eye on the Indian wine market going into 2013.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Capital Vintners: London International Wine Fair 2013

The focus on next year's London International Wine Fair (LIWF) will be on the UK wine market. 

From May 20-22 2013, leading industry heads from the wine world will convene at the ExCel Centre to promote their businesses and peruse others' stands and stock. 

Speakers will include Jancis Robinson OBE MW, Spiros Malandrakis, Industry analyst for Alcoholic Drinks, and Joshua Greene, Editor of Wine & Spirits Magazine.  

Over 13,000 industry professionals visited the LIWF this year, the majority of which were importers, distributors and agents. There were 942 exhibitors from 34 countries, exhibiting 17,500 wines and spirits. 

Capital Vintners will have a stand at the LIWF next year, so if you would like to come and say hi, please feel free to meet our team and taste some of the wines we will have to offer. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Capital Vintners: Eye on Asia

On November 23 the Chinese Wine Conference was held in Beijing. 

The theme of the conference was 'Let the Chinese People Love Wine', in an effort to promote wine drinking across this vast country. 

China is now the fifth biggest market for Burgundy, and the Bordeaux market in Asia is still strong. Hong Kong is now the wine auction capital of the world. The exports to China rose 38 per cent (from last year) to £283 million. 

Capital Vintners will be expanding its business into Asia in 2013 as the market grows stronger and stronger. We will also continue to provide information on the Asian wine market.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Vinexpo 2013 announced

Bordeaux's Lake Exhibition Centre will play host to the 17th Vinexpo next June. 

The emphasis will be on the 'global wine market'. This is a direct response to the rise of the emerging markets, in particular China and Brazil. Rather than keeping the focus on Europe and North America, the exhibition hopes to attract visitors from all over the globe. 

The biennial exhibition boasted figures in 2011 of 48,000 visitors from 47 countries, and next year looks like being even bigger. 

Vinexpo will offer tastings, restaurants and exhibits from all over the world. The event is a great draw for the region, especially at a rough time for the wine market. 

Vinexpo takes place between June 16-20 2013. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

White Burgundies and Bordeaux excel over the weekend at auction

A fine selection of DRC wines 
Once again Burgundies steal the show and top the auction lists.

This weekend auctions at Sotheby's in New York and Zachys' in Hong Kong both saw high figures, especially for white Bordeaux and Burgundies.

Highlights of the New York auction included a 10-bottle case of 1988 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet for £29,000 and three bottles of 1985 for £9,200. both these sales were well over their estimated prices.

At Capital Vintners we have been closely following the rise of the Burgundies, and in particular the wines from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (DRC).

Not only were there strong showings from DRC; Henri Jayer's Cros Parentoux, another Burgundy wine, sold eight bottles for £25,000.

At another auction in Paris, which was opened by Carla Bruni, one barrel (350l)  of Corton Grand Cru was sold for £220,000!

Now that China is France's fourth largest wine export market, Burgundy wines - beloved by the Far East - are bound to see a sharp increase in desirability and huge opportunities for profit.     

Bordeaux finally names wine cultural centre

After three long years of waiting for a name, the Bordeaux wine cultural centre finally has one: the City of Civilisations Wine (Cite des Civilisations de Vin).    

The centre's budget is 63 million euros and is due to open in 2015. Project manager Philippe Massol has reported that construction will take place by April 2013 with an aim to open the centre by the end of 2015.  

Renowned architects Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières are responsible for the design. The centre hopes to be a flagship building for the region - it will stand 50 metres high and be coated in 3100 glass panels. It is hoped that the centre will attract 400,000 visitors every year. 

Capital Vintners is excited to head out to Bordeaux to visit the centre when it opens in a few years' time.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Capital Vintners: Champagne 2012 Report Continued

Is Champagne bucking the trend of 'austerity Britain'? It would appear so. 

Champagne was hit hard during the economic slump but it would appear that it is now recovering and seeing high sales numbers.

Champagne is often called the 'affordable luxury' and more and more these days it is losing its 'special occasion' status. Low-price supermarket deals, combined with an availability of many fine Champagnes has led to a feeling of 'everyday usage' for this sparkling wine that was once a decadent luxury for the rich and famous.  

The largest areas of growth are likely to come from India and China. Although they both only have market shares of 0.4 and 0.7 per cent respectively, research indicates these figures have the potential to quadruple in the near future. 

Brands such as Pol Roger, Dom Perignon and Bollinger are featuring heavily as always. Capital Vintners specialises in all French fine wine regions, including Champagne. For any information on the fine wine market feel free to contact us on 0207 3783500.        

Capital Vintners: Champagne 2012 report

The Champagne region of France, just like Bordeaux and Burgundy, did not have a good year weather-wise and suffered a smaller harvest than usual. 

But initial reports indicate the 2012 Champagne vintage could be a very good one.

The chefs de cave at both Louis Roederer and Perrier-Jouet have expressed their excitement in anticipation of a cracking vintage, even comparing it with 1990.

Benoit Gouez, the chef de cave at Moet & Chandon, remarked that "considering the health of the grapes, the level of maturity and the balance with acidity, I am very confident in the vintage potential of this harvest."

The weather throughout 2012 was extremely difficult for all wine growers across France. The Champagne region experienced a cool summer, mildew in July and a windy August, making it all the more impressive that the harvest appears to be in very good shape. Technological advances have made it easier for producers to battle natural forces and ensure a solid vintage is possible.

Capital Vintners looks forward to the fruits of the Champagne 2012 harvest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Capital Vintners: Eye on Asia

A selection of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti wines
Burgundies ended the year strongly in a Hong Kong auction this weekend.

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. Remember this wine estate because it is breaking records right now. Three 2005 bottles were sold at a record-breaking price of £14,800 a bottle at an auction in Hong Kong over the weekend. £3.8 million of wine was sold at the auction, with Burgundies featuring heavily.

In fact, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti wines (DRC) wines accounted for nine of the top ten wine lots sold. A case of 1988 Romanee-Conti sold for £83,000.

As Bordeaux wines feel the pinch as the market levels out, Burgundies are filling the gap left behind. With the CEO of Acker Merrill & Condit calling Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (DRC) the “world’s most important producer,” it’s no surprise that the Far East is seeing huge sums of money being handed over for these sought-after Burgundies.  

The Bordeaux big boys did have an impact and were not completely missing from proceedings. The third most expensive lot – four bottles of Latour, four of Margaux, four of Haut-Brion and four of Petrus 2000 – sold for £12,300.

Recent reports from Burgundy suggest that the 2012 harvest will be small but sensational. Down 20 per cent on last year’s harvest, it will however be another great vintage for most of the region’s estates. A Burgundy Wine Board (BIVB) report stated that “the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir base wines are fruity, with lovely balance” and that the “deep reds reflected the diversity of each winegrowing region and offer a happy ending to this unusual year.” 

At Capital Vintners we know and understand that theAsian fine wine markets are diversifying as wine portfolios are diversifying. We also know that the Asian palate prefers a lighter French wine, and Burgundies seem to be ticking all the boxes. Burgundy goes well with fish and other Oriental dishes, making it the perfect accompaniment.

Capital Vintners sponsors the PMGC Annual Charity Ball

On Friday 9 November Capital Vintners co-sponsored the PMGC Technology Group Annual Charity Ball in aid of the Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Items in the auction included a holiday to Thailand, tickets to the British Grand Prix, and a signed Chelsea football shirt – won by our very own MD! A champagne reception followed by a three-course meal was on offer for the lucky patrons of the night.    

As one of the key sponsors of this fantastic event, CapitalVintners supplied the champagne for the evening and is proud to be a sponsor of such an important charity event. 

For more information and to find out how you can donate money to Great Ormond Street Hospital, go to http://www.gosh.org/gen/.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fifth Hong Kong Wine Fair opens

Hong Kong’s financial secretary announced that the total value of wine imports to the region in 2011 was around £750 million. Speaking at the opening of the fair, John Tsang Chun-Wah was enthusiastic about the future of the wine market in Hong Kong. He said that the city is now the largest auction centre in the world and that it sold £144 million of wine in 2011.     

All the major Bordeaux chateaux will be represented at the fair: Petrus, Lafite, Haut-Brion, Mouton and Margaux. 

At Capital Vintners we follow the increase in fine wine investment from the Far East, in particular Hong Kong.  We will be opening an office in Hong Kong very shortly so that we can have a presence in this rapidly expanding wine market.       

£10 million in counterfeit Chateau Lafite wine discovered in China

10,000 bottles of fake Chateau Lafite have been found in an abandoned house in the Zheijang province.

Even though China takes forgery very seriously – recently death sentences have been handed out to forgers of expensive products – this still remains a serious problem in Asian fine wine market. Lafite Rothschild has already won six lawsuits against Chinese firms that were counterfeiting wine.  

However it would appear that it was not Lafite Rothschild that was found, but DBR (Domaines Barons de Rothschild) Collection brands, including Legends, Saga and Reserve Speciale.

As fine wine is becoming a highly treasured commodity in China, these instances of forgery are becoming more rampant. DBR has now implemented security measures to try to counter these forgeries. Prooftag labels have been added to every bottle of Lafite Rothschild from the 2009 vintage.

Around 50,000 bottles of Lafite are imported to China every year.

Capital Vintners offers the best Lafite Rothschild wines for investment. Check out our website for more information http://capitalvintners.com/wines/2/bordeaux-first-growths

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012 Burgundies expected to be excellent

A selection of fine Burgundy wines
Capital Vintners can report that although wine production across the whole of France was down this year - smallest harvest in 37 years – Burgundies in particular are expected to be fantastic.

Expected to be down 30 per cent from last year, the Burgundy 2012 harvest will be small but impressive, according to initial reports from experts.

Red wines in particular are expected to be in fantastic shape – small bunches of grapes with thick skins. Bruno Pepin, commercial director at Louis Latour, said: "The reds are very concentrated, but without the lack of acidity we had in 2003." 

Vineyards and distributors will try to keep prices down for 2012 Burgundies, but everyone understands that price rises are inevitable. 

Capital Vintners specialises in fine Burgundies, especially Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. Check out our selection here    

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Capital Vintners: Eye on Europe

EU wine regions lobby against vineyard extension plans

The European Commission (EC) expects to see a freeing up of planning rights across European vineyards starting in January 2016. This could completely change the landscape of the European wine industry.

 So far 15 EU countries – including France, Italy, Spain and Portugal – have formally objected to proposals to extend vineyards

The lobby is currently 40 votes short of the 255 majority required to make sure the plans will be quashed.  

The Association of European Wine Regions (AREV) is unhappy and will say ‘no’ to the Commission’s plans. Groups acting for vineyard growers believe that the EC reform could lead to catastrophic results to the culture and integrity of Europe’s finest vineyards.

They worry that any freeing up of planning rights across some of the world’s most prestigious vineyards could ruin not only the landscape but also the lucrative nature of the industry. In France especially, the major first growth chateaux will not be happy with any changes to the vineyard planting regulations.

Capital Vintners will follow the story with interest in the coming months. Follow us on Twitter @CapitalVintners for the latest news on the wine market.     

Monday, November 5, 2012

Capital Vintners: Eye on China

Here at Capital Vintners we like to keep as up to date as possible on movements in the global fine wine market. China is currently importing a significant amount of Bordeaux wine. No longer are the Chinese only buying the top wines; they have started to diversity their portfolios, further increasing imports and diversifying Chinese tastes for various grapes and chateaux.      

Georges Haushalter, President of the Bordeaux Wine Council, said: "What we want to do is help the Chinese customers learn about wines, so that they can discover new chateaux and diversify their tastes." 

Three years ago, there were two Bordeaux chateaux owned by Chinese entrepreneurs. Now there are thirty.  

According to data from the Bordeaux Wine Council, over the past year, the overall export value of Bordeaux wines has hit a record high at £1.84 billion. The exports to China rose 38 per cent (from last year) to £283 million. 

The Chinese fine wine market is strong and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Liv-ex hits record number of trading wines

The London International Vintners Exchange (Liv-ex) hit a new record this week in terms of active markets. There are now more than 3000 separate wines with a bid or offer against them on the exchange, a 50 per cent rise since June. Buyers are clearly starting to diversify their portfolios.

Burgundies are booming this year and filling the gap left behind by Bordeaux wines, which, although still incredibly lucrative, have lost a little ground recently. In 2012 Bordeaux wines account for 86.9 per cent of the trades, whereas in 2011 it was 93.2 per cent.

As a trading partner of the London International VintnersExchange (Liv-ex), Capital Vintners is able to use all the data and statistics to further inform our clients on the fine wine investment landscape.   

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Capital Vintners: Brazil to double fine wine consumption in next four years

The Brazilian Wine Institute and the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets want to double the total consumption of fine wine in the next four years to forty million litres.

The Brazilian government has ignored calls to put quotas on imported wine and allowed a more worldwide wine market to thrive in the country. 

The BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India, and China - nations are seeing high growth stats as the rest of the world battles with recession. China’s growth may have dropped off a little recently but latest quarterly growth figures are still over seven per cent. Brazil is predicted to see over four per cent growth in 2013. An emerging middle class is bound to attract an influx of luxury imports, with fine wine being top of that list. 

Government to spend £420,000 on fine wine to stock House of Commons bars

Capital Vintners has learned that the Government will spend close to half a million pounds on fine wine not widely available on the high street. It has been suggested that MPs are looking for rarer fine wines to stock bars in the House of Commons.   

After the ‘plebgate’ row with Andrew Mitchell last month, the government is in danger of being seen to be completely out of touch with the common man. 

A Labour source in Westminster commented: "It says a lot about this government of Old Etonians that it still sees lavish spending on fine wines as a necessity at a time when essential services like the police and pension benefits are being slashed. The rest of us are happy with a £5 bottle." 

The House of Commons bars are subsidised by the public - a glass of wine is under £2.50 - so this latest revelation is bound to reinforce stereotypes that politicians do not know what the UK's priorities are right now.    

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Worldwide wine output lowest in decades

Bloomberg has reported today that global wine production is due to fall to its lowest levels in 37 years.

Terrible weather across the globe has created the worst wine harvest in decades. France, Italy and Argentina  in particular have witnessed a year of drought, flooding and hail. Seeing as France and Italy are the largest wine-producing countries in the world, 2012 has been a tough year for wine producers. 

At Capital Vintners we are fully aware of the difficulties the worldwide wine market faces right now. A lack of produce is likely to push costs up. However, the Bordeaux region was not as badly affected as other regions (roughly 10 per cent down on 2011 harvest).

Capital Vintners provides up-to-date information on the wine investment market and will be closely following developments as we enter 2013.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bordeaux 2009 classics

Chateau Cos'Estournel
A couple of fantastic Robert Parker-endorsed Bordeaux 2009 wines are making a splash right now.

Here at Capital Vintners we know that Bordeaux wines are always a great investment opportunity, with two wines in particular proving to be successful right now. 

The Chateau Angelus 2009 and the Chateau Cos D’Estournel 2009 both featured in Robert Parker’s ‘Magical 20’. Parker – arguably the most respected Bordeaux wine critic in the world – has a 100 point wine system that is used by the wine industry all around the world. At Capital Vintners we only deal with wines with a Parker score of over 95 – the absolute best wines in the world.   

What are even more impressive are the comments Parker made on these two wines. Of the Angelus, Parker said that it was an “impressive show winner” and gave it a score of 96-100. The Cos D’Estournel gained even more praise. Parker said of the Cos, “All the debate about this should now be over. Soft. Amazing. Deep. Concentrated. Not like any of the others. I love it.” The wine was given 98-100 points.

Keep an eye on these two wines, as they are likely to skyrocket in value.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Second Chinese-owned negociant to open in Bordeaux next month

Another Chinese-owned negociant is set to open in Bordeaux next month as the Asian wine market continues to make a mark on the French region.

Chinese businessman Jinshan Zhang is responsible for the exciting new venture. The first Chinese-owned negociant in Bordeaux opened in 2008 and employs seven people, including three Chinese speakers. The new negociant – Chateau du Grand Mouëys – will aim to export roughly 60 per cent of the annual 350,000-bottle production.  

A negociant is a French term for a wine merchant who assembles the produce of smaller growers and winemakers and sells the result under its own name.

Mr Zhang’s foray into Bordeaux is yet another demonstration of the rise of the Chinese fine wine market and its interest in French vineyards.

With Chateau Margaux recently employing a new business development officer in Shanghai and also launching a Chinese language site, it is clear that there are major opportunities for investment in fine wines that are clearly cherished and beloved by a rapidly growing Chinese market.  

Capital Vintners buys and sells the finest Bordeaux First Growths, including Chateau Margaux: http://www.capitalvintners.com/wines/2/bordeaux-first-growths

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New wine trade show announced for London 2013

Capital Vintners can report that a brand new event for the wine trade will be launched in London next September.

The idea is to create a hive of business activity, where like-minded professionals can come together and conduct meetings and seminars. UK agents, producers from all around the world, and distributors will be able to mingle and discuss wine-related issues.

The event has an invitation-only policy for UK buyers and will take place on September 24 at the Royal Albert Hall.     

Burgundy wines soaring in value

Christie’s have reported that Burgundies are performing incredibly well right now.

In particular Domaine de la Romanee-Conti has performed well. Although Bordeaux wines are still top dog, Burgundies are gaining notoriety in the market, especially Asia.

Capital Vintners not only offers a wide collection of fine wines, but also the very best Burgundies: http://www.capitalvintners.com/wines/8/burgundy

As production in Burgundy is smaller than Bordeaux, it is more difficult to get hold of. Also the wines are more subject to variation by vintage and grower. This scarcity of wine drives up demand and desire for Burgundies, especially across Asia. Asian buyers love the pairing of Burgundy and their native seafood dishes because it is softer on the palate and more versatile than Bordeaux.  

The two big names in Burgundy wine for Asian investors right now are Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and Henri Jayer, but other producers are now becoming well known. They include Leroy, Ponsot, Lafon and Dujac.  

In 2005, a magnum 1971 Romanee-Conti on average went for around £6500 in auctions; the price is now over £21,000.

It is clear that there is huge investment potential with fine Burgundies right now. As the Asian market expands, investors and consumers will look to regions other than Bordeaux for fine wine. Burgundy appears to be the perfect fit right now. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chateau Margaux focuses its business on high-flying Chinese market

Chateau Margaux (Megan Mallen)
Chateau Margaux has hired Fangyuan Zheng, a business development manager, in Shanghai to overlook the Bordeaux producer’s sales across the region.

The esteemed French wine producer is building on its brand and relationships in China - Thibault Pontallier was appointed Margaux’s brand ambassador in Hong Kong in 2010 – in order to take full advantage of the growing Chinese market. 

In the past the heavy-hitting producers like Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Lafite dominated the Chinese market. These days, investors and drinkers alike are just as interested in other French producers, including Chateau Montrose, Margaux and Pichon Baron. 

French-born merchant Alexander Cros recently spoke to China Daily: “Now it is not just Beijing and Shanghai, it is the other cities where people are interested and want to understand different wines, not just Chateau Lafite."

Here at Capital Vintners we understand how strong the Chinese market is right now. Currently the world’s fifth-largest wine market, China has developed a fondness for Bordeaux wines in particular. In 2010 China replaced the UK and Germany for the first time to become the largest importer of Bordeaux wine.

Check out our wide range of fine Bordeaux wines at http://www.capitalvintners.com/wines/

Friday, October 19, 2012

Worldwide shortage of 1.3 billion bottles in wine as Europe experiences huge output slump

Capital Vintners' warehouse at Locke King, full of  fine wines 

It has been reported today that the world is facing a shortage of 1.3 billion bottles of wine this year, mainly due to the erratic weather across Europe. 

According to Bloomberg, the production slumps in France, Italy and Spain have led to worldwide shortage. And since the European harvest accounts for 62 per cent of worldwide wine production, this shortage is bound to have a serious impact on Bertrand Girard, the chief executive office of Groupe Val d’Orbieu, today said: “We’re short of wine. We've never seen that in three or four decades.” The global shortfall is expected to be over 250 million gallons. Even though wine consumption has steadily increased over the past decade, production has consistently fallen, according to data from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine.  

Here at Capital Vintners we know that a shortage in supply will push up demand for these fine wines across France, especially Bordeaux and Burgundy. With the Bordeaux region coming out a lot better than many other regions this harvest, the 2012 Grand Crus are bound to attract a lot of attention.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chateau Margaux hires Foster to update cellars

Chateau Margaux (Megan Mallen)
Renowned British architect Sir Norman Foster has been hired to revamp Chateau Margaux. 

The renovation will include an underground bottle library for past vintages and a new vinification cellar, where reds and whites will be able to be vinified in the same part of the estate for the first time since the 1970s.

The estate will also be more suited to visitors. New meeting rooms and tasting rooms will give the Chateau more opportunities to stage hospitality events.

Capital Vintners buys and sells a fantastic selection of Margaux wines
(http://www.capitalvintners.com/wines/2/bordeaux-first-growths), so we will be looking closely at this partnership between Chateau Margaux and Sir Norman Foster in the near future. 

As Chateau Margaux is a listed building, the planning and preparation has been slow and meticulous. Foster – in collaboration with the Bordeaux architect Guy Tropres – will have to make sure that the building’s treasured exterior is kept intact. However the interior will be completely modernised.

Work is expected to start in April 2013.

Bordeaux concept wines launched

Capital Vintners is excited to hear that four Michelin-starred chefs and Arnaud Christiaens, a French hedge fund manager and oenophile, have joined forces to create a new wine brand from four different Bordeaux appellations.

The chefs - Bruno Menard, Frederic Anton, Alain Dutournier and Yannick Alleno – have been working with Gerard Basset, a World Champion Sommelier, to create something new and exciting.

Known as Le Secret des Grands Chefs, the project consists of four 2009 wines from small vineyards in Paulliac, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Médoc and Pomerol.

President of the project Arnaud Christiaens said: “I am delighted to introduce Le Secret des Grands Chefs, the fruit of four years’ hard and dedicated work that has been a struggle to keep secret. The combination of talents from Châteaux owners, the best Chefs, financial support and outstanding soils can add up to more than a simple Cartesian formula. It is a great story of man and nature in harmony.”

Christiaens added: “We wanted to produce a new ‘Grand Vin’. Many said it was impossible. But we did it.”

We look forward to seeing (and tasting) the finished product at Capital Vintners very soon.

China set to become second largest luxury market by 2017

China is due to become the world’s second largest market for luxury goods in the space of five years.

Luxury goods sales could reach $302 billion worldwide this year, up four per cent from 2011. 

Fine wine, especially Bordeaux wine, dominates the luxury goods landscape.
Most of the large UK merchants report between a third and a half of their business coming from China.

Capital Vintners will be opening up an office in HongKong in the near future to take advantage of this surge in the Asian markets.

As the Western world battles with recession, China and the other BRIC (Brazil, Russia and India) nations are forging ahead.

Euromonitor said: "Benefiting from a fast-growing middle class and a fast-developing luxury distribution network, sales of luxury goods in China have consistently outperformed the global market.”

According to Vinexpo, wine consumption in China grew 140 per cent in China from 2006 to 2010 and by 21.5 per cent in 2011 alone. Today China is the fifth largest aggregate consumer of wine worldwide, after France, the United States, Italy, and Germany.

The new craze for Chinese businessmen is to shout “ganbei” (bottoms up) and down shots of Chateau Lafite, a very expensive toast indeed. Of course this is not the only way that the Chinese enjoy fine wines, but it signifies the change in culture towards more western ideals of luxury and decadence. Wine is more than just a drink; it is a status symbol.

2012 European harvest worst in 50 years, according to experts

Bad weather across Europe has led to a terrible harvest this year, with wine experts expecting a 20 per cent drop in the grape harvest in France compared to last year.

The Champagne and Burgundy regions have been hit particularly badly, with the Chardonnay grape being affected more than most by the inclement weather. These areas could see a decline by up to 40 per cent. Bordeaux should get away with a much smaller drop – more like ten per cent. 

Here at Capital Vintners we like to look for the positives. We believe that the quality of French wine will be as good, if not better than usual, as it will be more concentrated. Thierry Coste, an expert with the European Union farmers’ union, told Associated Press:When it comes to quality, we are looking at a good year.”

At Capital Vintners we know that Bordeaux fine wine will always be a good investment. New technological advances in recent years mean that the top chateaux should be able to produce a vintage year.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


On the 4th June, BBC Radio 4 did a section on the London International Wine fare discussing the latest market trends.

The major talking points were low-alcohol wines and emerging wine countries such as Canada, Mexico, Croatia and Lithuania. Incidentally Canada is number 32 on the world's list of total wine output. Croatian wine succeeded by getting Marks and Spencer's to stock it's Pilato Malvazija Istarska. Another country to 'up' it's game in the wine market is Georgia, although there is some debate as to whether this is an emerging wine producer. Evidence says that wine producing in the country goes back 8,000 years. Georgians use a Qvevri to produce wine, which is a giant clay, egg-shaped pod which is inserted into the ground. Using red or white, the grapes are placed into the Qvevri (see image below) with absolutely everything included (the pip, stalk, skin, the lot) to give a more natural wine taste. A hole is then dug out and the Qvevri is then placed into the ground.

There has been this small increase in the amount of wine with a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) content, which was partially spurred by the increased duty on wine (with a higher alcohol content). CJ and PK authors of the @SedimentBlog were at the London  International Wine Fair and weren't too keen on this notion of having lower ABV wines (quoted on BBC Radio 4). Paul Keer (the PK in CJ) believed that the trend still remained for full bodied reds, thanks to American critics such as Robert Parker:

"There's been a tremendous fashion for much more full-bodied red wines over the last few years, partly driven by the American critics. A lot of the world's been trying to produce this much richer and more powerful red wine"

Mascarto from Australia is a notable low alcohol wine label. His partner Charles Jennings wasn't overly keen on wines with a lower ABV. He felt that Brits shouldn't have anxieties over the alcohol content in wines.

"I think concentrating on the amount of alcohol in a wine makes me nervous. I think it prays on a basic anxiety that the British have about drinking "...this is a sort of fake way of saying you can carry on 'tippling' but it's not going to be so bad for you. It's not addressing any larger issues about why we drink wine, and I think to highlight it in this way really points out the problem rather than providing much of a drinkable solution"

These emerging wine countries may well be on the horizon, but a traditionalist would still argue that the established French wines of the Bordeuax and Burgundy still acquire much more prestige, and can grow in value over time. There is little evidence to suggest that wine purchased from these emerging countries provides significant returns. Much of this demand recently has been fueled by India where wine consumption is expected to reach 14.7 million litres by the end of 2012 according to the Associated Chamber if Commerce and Industry of India - registering a growth of 35 per cent over the last 4 years! India has become the 10th largest growth nation for wine consumption. France retains it's title for world's leading exporter of wine, ahead of Italy and Spain having delivered consignments abroad worth $9.731 billion (source: indianwine.com/blogs). This surge in demand from India is why French wine still remains attractive to sellers. 

Building on from the emergence of new wine producers, Chris Jennings also said that he was concerned British supermarkets were overwhelming consumers with choice.

"The shear profusion of wines available from so many different countries & so many different takes on wine... "then feeds back to the consumer's experience which becomes just a muddle. Supermarkets will tend to say 'well we have this wide variety on offer because it educates people, they can learn more' but they don't! The way you teach somebody is not to deluge them with potential information and difficult choices (which they are not necessarily able to make), but to simplify things. There should be fewer wines in the supermarket, not more!

Choice at the supermarket does have it's pitfalls, particularly if consumers aren't informed enough to make a best decision. Paul Keer added, "I'm bewildered [by the wine fair] there's so much on offer here. When I go to buy a chicken I like to have 3 to choose from , when I go to buy wine I'm now presented with 300 [at my local supermarket], it's completely bewildering."


Champagne is not just seen as a drink for special occasions but as an asset.

Fine art, wine and even stamps are often featured in the collections of wealthy clientele all over the world, and can grow in value over time - but what about Champagne?

Demand for Champagne has rocketed, helped by the Diamond Jubilee and anticipation of the London 2012 Olympics. Buyers are recently favouring big brands, such as Armand de Brignac, and even celebrities such as Jay-Z and city traders are getting in on the act. Some use it to toast a good day at the office, others choose to collect it and hope for a return on their initial purchase. Enquiries have reached record levels among other brokers, with more and more seeing it as an attractive asset. The price of King Brut '96 has jumped to £2,200 in the past 5 years - an increase of nearly 50 per cent (source: The Independent, June 12th 2012)! Furthermore one bottle of a rare Champagne vintage, Dom Perignon Rose 1959 fetched $84,700 (£54,200) at auction. 

The country's oldest wine merchant recently stated on FTadvisor.com that "Sales of vintage and deluxe Champagnes are often the first to take a dive in tough times but also the first to make a recovery. The fact we've seen an increase in sales [in 2011] after a drop [in 2010] may indicate that there could be more to celebrate in 2012 than the economic pundits would have us believe. 

"People have been spending more and this is partly due to a number of our discerning customers appreciating the quality of the 2002 vintage which many top Champagne houses have released over the past year or so.

"Many customers have been wooed by this extraordinary vintage from the big houses such as Dom Pérignon and Bollinger to the lesser-known but increasingly fashionable growers such as Pierre Peters, Paul Bara and R&L Legras."

English sparkling wine and Cava might be on the horizon, but Champagne is still seen as the ultimate 'special-occasion drink' and one which is certainly used to make bold statements. R 'n' B singer Chris Brown even sent his ex-flame Rihanna a bottle when their paths crossed in a New York nightclub (NY Daily News, 12th June 2012). 

Like many collectibles, you have to choose wisely, do your research and select prestigious brands that are in short supply. In the wine market, Chateau Latour's recent announcement that it will not offer en primeur prices from 2013 will have interesting long term investment implications (source: FTadvisor.com 25th June 2012). The Chateau may drift out of the spotlight as a result of this but on the other hand it might gain greater prestige from being less accessible. 

The same too can also been said of Champagne, unlike Cava it's Spanish equivalent, certain brands of Champagne still hold their prestige because they follow the same age old French tradition: short supply, high demand. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012



A recent article in the Financial Times (19th July 2012) will come as a relief to many buyers and sellers of fine wine. The last 12 months have been a bit of a whirl wind in the fine wine market; the Greek debt crisis, recession and rising unemployment across Europe have played their part but more significantly, there were concerns that first growth prices had been slightly over-valued. The Liv-Ex 100 index was reported to have risen by a staggering 76 per cent.

Much of this price rise was caused by increased demand from Chinese investors, headed by Chateau Lafite. However, the Chinese economy suffered a blimp half way through 2011 leading to a fall in demand. Many analysts concluded that many wines were being over-priced. Many markets such as, Hong Kong, had even reached saturation point and were put off buying any more. The 2010 en primeur campaign did not help Bordeaux as it had been mismanaged and grossly over priced. This fuelled resentment amongst investors and collectors, who simply did want to pay too much for wine that hadn’t even left the barrel. Lafite was hit hard, followed by Latour, Haut-Brion, Margeaux and Mouton who were hit modestly.

But here’s the good news, merchants in the market learnt from the mistakes made in 2008 and didn’t rush into selling off their stock. Wine does after all, increase in value once it is matured. Many merchants held onto their stock and were prepared to weather the storm until the market conditions improved. Rather than under-cutting their prices merchants opted for ‘price-correction’, which meant giving their stock a more realist price. Whilst this price correction proved effective in preventing the kind of panic-stricken mass selling witnessed in 2008, it was nonetheless serious and prolonged. In the last six months of 2011, the Liv-Ex fell 21.5%, finishing the year on 286 points, a 15% reduction on last year.

But every cloud has a silver lining, and some second growth Chateaux actually benefited from the price undercuts, these included: Pontet-Canet, Beychevelle, Lynch-Bages and Pichon Baron.  During the same period in 2011, demand for ultra-fine Burgundy shot up. One variety, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC), along with de Vogue, Leflaive, Roumier and Rousseau saw demand rocket and replaced Lafite as the ‘must-have’ commodity of the secondary market. This Burgundy revival saw massive improvements in the market and saw the Liv-Ex grow another 2% in May 2012 and is now up 19% on last year’s values (source: FT.com).

China and India’s wealthiest may well have had taste for Burgundy (and Tuscany of Italy) of recent but as the Financial Times has stated the quantities are simply too small and modish to satisfy a demanding international market in the long run. Financial Times also states “it would be foolhardy to write off Bordeaux for too long. Great Bordeaux is like the timeless ‘little black dress’ which never goes out of fashion”.  Early signs seem to be positive, not only did many wine merchants report more European buyers returning to the market but that the amount of buyers were outnumbering sellers by two to one. Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong saw growth of 40.9% year on year. Furthermore a recent report in Decanter (http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/530063/eurozone-crisis-may-trigger-wine-bubble-say-experts) found many investors are seeking refuge in fine wine, in light of the uncertainty surrounding the European single currency. This law in economics can be attributed to “Gresham’s Law”, said Joe Roseman, on Decanter. Joe is a former hedge fund economist and author of SWAG (Silver Wine Art Gold) – a book on alternative investments who is also quoted saying:

“Stated simply, it means that bad money drives investors to seek good money. In this instance, the bad money is the euro currency and the good money is an asset like wine.”

Slightly more cautious advice has come from Henning Thoresen, CEO of Bordeaux Winebank Group and manager of the €50m Wine Growth Fund, he reckons that despite many Asian investors questioning the Euro’s validity it shouldn’t affect the image of fine wine as a good long-term investment.

“We are advising them to stay calm,' he said. 'We have a ten-year horizon and I don't think the eurozone situation will affect wine as a long-term investment.”

Andrew Della Casa, Director of the Wine Investment Fund, is very upbeat on the other hand. He is quoted as saying in the Financial Times that the market should grow at “a steady 10 per cent” by the end of 2012.

“Falls such as those in 2011 have generally been followed by strong returns for those investing at the right time” adding that “We believe this could be the right time and predict double-digit growth this year”

This cautious optimism exists on the basis of new money flowing into the market. Robert Parker also helped to provide a timely boast to prices with his revised scores for 2009 vintage. With 2012 being the Chinese year of the dragon, it is hoped that the Chinese love affair with fine wines (including Bordeaux and Burgundy) should continue to flourish. Most of this recovery does however depend on consumer confidence. Some wines did benefit from an expensive en-primeur campaign and some wine investors predict that the economy should grow between 14-18 per cent by the end of the year. Buyers and sellers may well be taking a more long-termism approach but the future should remain strong for the wine market.