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  

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

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.