What does Q4 hold for fine wine?

Tuesday, 21 November, 2023
The Drinks Business, Arabella Mileham
Following a volatile few months on the secondary market, db asks some of the major fine wine players what the prognosis is for fine wine in the fourth quarter and beyond.

Last month, a report from Liv-ex noted “pockets of strength” during Q3 that possibly hinted at the potential stabilisation of the fine wine market, following a volatile September, with Q4 likely to reveal which direction the market heads in. The hope for a turnaround appears to have been dashed by the October figures however, published yesterday, which show an acceleration in the decline in the Liv-ex 1000 during October.

Bearing this in mind, what might Q4 look like and where is the market heading?

Speaking to The Drinks Business last week – before the October numbers were fully crunched – Liv-ex’s Robbie Stevens, territory manager of the Americas, said the market was likely to continue to be muted.

“Judging on where the market is where we’re seeing prices transact at and listings happen, the decline continues. I don’t think we’re going to see a bucking the trend there,” he said.

There was a bit of a slowing down in terms of the downward pressure during Q3 he noted, which he attributed in part to the competing demands of fine wine businesses and merchants, where one side wants to sell stock having had a slower few months, and is prepared to reduce prices to do so, with others see this as an opportunity to snap up stock at prices that haven’t been seen for a few years.

“I think we started to see that back in May and June when the en primeur 22 [campaign] wasn’t what everyone hoped it would be,” he said. “Then there was this summer lull of buying and then in September October, we started see those prices come down again, as people have reflected on how their Q3 has panned out.”

There is, he pointed out, a need for merchant to continue to sell wine.

“Speaking anecdotally to merchants, there are people who have seen significant drops in their Q3 numbers versus what they would have expected to have seen and certainly their Q1and Q2 numbers,” he added.

“People are trying to work out where the bottom might be,” he added – but as the October figures have since shown, we haven’t quite reached it yet.

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