The harvest is over while the wine fairs continue. And on the auction market, how is the wine ? What are the most popular vintages, the business not to be missed ? From the growth of bourgogne wines to the emergence of natural wines, the expert Pascal Kuzniewski gives us the latest trends of the auction market.
Aladin : What are the advantages of wine and spirit auctions over buying in the traditional trade?
Pascal Kuzniewski*: « The offer in the auctions is very wide. As in the traditional trade, it will be possible to acquire new wines, but also older and rarer bottles, generally not found elsewhere. Buyers looking for a specific year, to celebrate a birthday for example, or a prestigious wine will have more chance to find the coveted bottle in sales rooms than in-store. In addition, prices are often lower there".
Aladin : What are the latest trends in the wine market?
Pascal Kuzniewski : « If, ten years ago, bordeaux wines were totally predominant and filled up 90% of the sales catalogues, this hegemony is now over. Some price swings have led the public to take an interest in other regions. Today, Burgundy, Champagne, the Rhône and the Jura are increasingly captivating the public and total almost half of the lots presented at the auction"
Aladin : In Bordeaux, which wines are the most popular ?
Pascal Kuzniewski : « Petrus remains the most famous and expensive wine in this region. The bottle price ranges from 1000 euros to 8000 euros for very large vintages. For all the great wines classified, like Château Latour, Château Margaux, Cheval Blanc, Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild, it is necessary to count about 300 euros per bottle. But today, given the improvement of the quality of the wines, the progress brought by oenology to correct many climatic imperfections, there are no longer really bad vintages in Bordeaux. Thus, it is possible to indulge yourself with bottles at 15 euros. But, not to detail them all, as there are 15000 different labels in the vineyard !"
Aladin : Burgundy seems to seduce more and more amateurs. How do you explain the recent craze and growing for this region ?
Pascal Kuzniewski : « While Burgundy produces much less wine than Bordeaux, the public appreciates its small and rare productions and increasingly qualitative. Romanée-Conti and Leroy are the most sought-after fields in the world. As an indication, during an auction organized on 14 August 2019 by the Besch Cannes Auction in Cannes, a Musigny Cru 2005 of the domain Leroy was sold for 28500 euros including expenses. It is however possible to find good bourgognes between 15 and 20 euros. For example, the white burgundy of Pierre Morey, of a recent vintage, can be bought for 15 euros under the hammer".
Aladin : Are buyers interested in “natural” wines?
Pascal Kuzniewski : « In recent years, these so-called natural wines have been experiencing a real increase. This trend coincides with the current desire to promote product traceability and minimize the use of pesticides and sulphur. If these bottles were worth between 40 and 50 euros five years ago, they now easily reach 150 euros. Beaujolais and Jura «natural» wines are particularly appreciated. The Fleurie, Cru du Beaujolais, and in particular the cuvée L'Ultime, from the producer Yvon Métras, is now sold around 150 euros per bottle, whereas five years ago its price was 50 euros".
Aladin : In terms of old vintages, which beverages should be preferred?
Pascal Kuzniewski : « At auction, it is possible to find wines dating from the 19th century, although they are relatively rare. Sauternes from 1860 and 1900 can appear on the market. The oldest bottles are mainly spirits, like the very old cognacs which are of particular interest to buyers and of which the bottles of the most prestigious years, 1811 and 1865, can reach up to 5000 euros. There is also a real fascination of the market for the Chartreuse. Amateurs don’t hesitate to raise the price of the oldest bottles to 10000 euros. Finally, vintage rums are increasingly in demand, such as the Bally, which raise prices of around 1500 to 2000 euros per bottle.”
Pascal Kuzniewski-Lebrun is the Managing Director of Vin Vino Veritas and an expert for Besch Cannes Auction (one of the leading French auction houses for vintage wines)
Wine and spirit auctions increased by 18% in 2018, according to the latest Voluntary Sales Council (CW) report, with total auctions amounting to 46 million euros. In its study, the CW details that «if the buyers remain mainly French (70% of the lots purchased), the big vintages (...) usually go for export». Pascal Kuzniewski adds that : "customers of the auction houses clearly prefer to drink the acquired bottles rather than collecting them!"
Aladin, Magazine des chineurs
Photos : Hervé Lefebvre - www.twinphotographie.com
Bordeaux - A bottle from the famous Château Petrus, and from 1947 !
A bottle of yellow Chartreuse from the period 1869-1878 !
The bourgognes are ahead, like these Vosne-Romanée bottles