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Bordeaux First Growths Drop to 18% of Liv-Ex Market Share

February 15, 2014

Chateau Latour

The entrance to first-growth Chateau Latour is seen in Pauillac, France. Photographer: Elin McCoy/Bloomberg

Bordeaux first-growth wines fell to 18 percent of trade by value on the London-based Liv-ex wine market at the end of last month from 66 percent at the peak of the market, according to Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch report.

Asian demand for top producers including Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Latour drove prices to record levels in June 2011 before demand receded amid the global financial crisis and Chinese government discouragement of official gift-giving. Bordeaux first growths typically account for about 35 percent of trade by value, Liv-ex said.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index dropped 0.8 percent last month after falling 3 percent last year, 10 percent in 2012 and 17 percent in 2011. Muted investor demand for top Bordeaux has been weighing increasingly on other leading estates.

“For the first time in 12 years, the Liv-Ex Fine Wine 100 Index closed January with a loss,” Liv-ex said in its e-mailed report. While volumes held steady, “prices struggled to rise.”

Trade was heaviest for the three most recent physically available vintages, with wines from 2009 accounting for 20 percent of all Bordeaux traded on the exchange, Liv-ex said.

The wine estates on the left bank of the Gironde estuary designated as first growths in the classification drawn up for Napoleon III’s 1855 Paris Exhibition, in addition to Lafite and Latour, were Chateau Margaux and Chateau Haut-Brion. A fifth, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, was promoted to the group in 1973.

While Bordeaux’s share of overall trading on the Liv-ex market fell below 80 percent in January for the second straight month, Italian wines increased their share to 7.1 percent, and Burgundy dropped to 6.5 percent, according to the Cellar Watch report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Guy Collins in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Sillitoe at

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