Prices for Bordeaux wines in recent years have left “too many people” discouraged and estates need to give buyers more reasons to invest, according to Allan Sichel, managing director of Maison Sichel.
“What the market needs today is confidence in its ability to make money by buying and selling these wines,” he said in an interview at the Bordeaux offices of the family trading house founded in 1883 on the banks of the Garonne.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index tracking the 10 most recent available vintages of the five Bordeaux left-bank first-growths has declined for 18 of the past 20 months after peaking in June 2011 amid Chinese demand for trophy labels from the region.
“This speculative dimension is inevitable and not really controllable,” Sichel said 14 November. “What we do need is for importers, distributors, retailers to be able to earn their living, have pride in showing these wines and being comfortable that they will be able to sell them by making a decent margin on the wines they’ve bought.”
Price declines of the past three years have undermined the Bordeaux en primeur system, where wines sold six to nine months after harvest for physical delivery two years later were cheaper than mature wines. This gave buyers an incentive to invest early in the hope their purchases would appreciate in value.
“That is the key point in the price positioning of the 2014 vintage,” he said. It has to “give confidence, and that can only be done by positioning the point at a level which guarantees that the whole distribution chain will be able to make money by selling them.”
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