New buyers are going to be paying a lot more for their fine wine.

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Mark Golodetz
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New buyers are going to be paying a lot more for their fine wine.

#1 Post by Mark Golodetz » March 27th, 2018, 2:57 pm

As far as I can see if you starting to buy fine wine you are essentially screwed. The demographics suggest that the market will continue to expand, and even now, most auctions are seeing ever high sold rates approaching 100% with plenty of world record prices. Not only are prices on the rise, but the little pockets where you as an insider could find value are disappearing, for instance middle of the road Bordeaux from lesser vintages, which was stuck for years, are now seeing marked increases. The dollar is down 20% against the euro, so replacements will come in higher. And then, if you do get the wines, and you live outside of the Tristate, Illinois, California etc, trying to get the wine will be become ever more interesting. Finally, wrapping things up, you are not only dealing with more consumers, but there are also more speculators in the marketplace, as wine has become a useful hedge.
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#2 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 27th, 2018, 3:19 pm

You sound like Victor!

The market for fine wine seems to oscillate. I'm not worried, but then again, I'm also not just starting to buy fine wine. I will say, I have bought more this past year than perhaps any other year in my life, due to an incredible run of vintages in the regions that I adore, a strong dollar relative to the Euro, and daily emails with deep discounts. I just bought today 6 bottles of 2012 d'Armailhac for $27.99. Classified Growh at house wine pricing, I like that.

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#3 Post by Markus S » March 27th, 2018, 3:26 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:... The demographics suggest that the market will continue to expand....
Well let's see, Japan's population is essential flat, China will be a nation of old people within our lifetime, Russia is declining in pop, the US under the new admin wants to limit immigration (one of the only drivers of our population gain), plus factor in a good plague or two (like the Spanish Flu outbreak or Zika or Black Death) which we are long overdue for, throw in some 'feel-good' wars that will reduce the drinkers and keep incomes low for awhile and maybe a couple of massive economic crises...yeah, I won't be worrying my little head over unaffordable wine prices. [cheers.gif]
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#4 Post by Kelly Walker » March 27th, 2018, 3:35 pm

I noticed my local Taqueria selling Rousseau and Ch. Palmer :x
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#5 Post by Yao C » March 27th, 2018, 3:37 pm

I agree with Mark; in addition I think climate change will compromise many of our cherished terroirs in the coming decades - specifically that we will exceed the limited ability of those terroirs to adapt, and will be forced to try radically new things (e.g. sparkling wine in the UK). I believe the process of re-adaptation to new land will take a while & can't be sped up. Also there's going to be billions of people who make the jump to middle-class-hood in the coming decades and some small % of them will probably like wine. And I don't think it's just China, although becoming a nation of old people is precisely the point - they will continue to swing from savings to consumption in a big way

All this is why I'm putting an unhealthy % of my disposable income into buying wine right now and buying as high-end as I possibly can; perhaps I'm just rationalizing, but I've worked as an investor long enough to know what conviction feels like (it feels wonderful)

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#6 Post by Ramon C » March 27th, 2018, 3:49 pm

What! I'm an old buyer and I've already paid a lot more for fine wine.
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#7 Post by D. HEIN » March 27th, 2018, 4:07 pm

Mark,

Absolutely correct!

Perhaps one could describe "FINE WINE" as a tiny production, collectible, value appreciating asset of extremely high quality as determined by the purchaser!

The population issue is a NON-ISSUE! It simply requires a few NEW wealthy, enthusiastic wine buyers to buy AND create additional significant demand!

Additionally, by dollar volume, a significant quantity of this wine, purchased at auction, is exported to foreign buyers.

Which begs the question, what quantity of wine purchased at auction is then shipped throughout the world, thereby reducing availability to SOME USA buyers and therefore continually increasing value?

The vineyards in Burgundy, Bordeaux etc. are NOT expanding or increasing production capacity!
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#8 Post by Matt Latuchie » March 27th, 2018, 4:11 pm

To me, this sounds like a challenge.

We have all reveled in buying $30 bottles that turn into $100 bottles (see Gonon SJ, for instance). I don't expect this to change. Today's usual, normal, QPRs may turn into tomorrow's cool, sleek, sexy bottle.

For instance, I was buying Juge without an issue for $50/bottle until 2 years ago. Now, it's insane. If you're a savvy buyer (and I assume you are since you're reading this) you're capable of reading the trends and knowing what's about to tip.

And, frankly, we all have a responsibility to teach the younger generations (says the 37 year old) about the bottles that are now untouchable. I was very lucky to have a community (Howard, Kevin, Maureen, Peter, Randall, Panos, Jace, Darryl, Chris, and many more) in DC that opened first growths, grand crus, etc etc that they acquired for much less for me - as a late 20 year old, the idea of drinking Lafite in 2009 was unthinkable. Do everyone a solid and spoil those that are passionate about wine.
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#9 Post by Joe G a l e w s k i » March 27th, 2018, 4:35 pm

I am seeing prices increase considerably in the USA. I think a lot of it is driven by economics. The stock market has done well since 2008. You should have bought <insert any expensive item with an elastic price> in 2008.

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#10 Post by Markus S » March 27th, 2018, 4:44 pm

Yao C wrote:... perhaps I'm just rationalizing, but I've worked as an investor long enough to know what conviction feels like (it feels wonderful)
Nothing like being able to have your convictions and drink them too! champagne.gif
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#11 Post by Alan Rath » March 27th, 2018, 4:51 pm

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#12 Post by Mattstolz » March 27th, 2018, 4:59 pm

I was telling a buddy in my tasting group yesterday that I do often find myself wishing I could take a time machine back to 1995 or so, buy a bunch of wines and lay them down in a preselected storage facility paid for up front, and then come back to today to collect my perfectly aged, cheaply purchased juice.

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#13 Post by Matt Latuchie » March 27th, 2018, 5:05 pm

Mattstolz wrote:I was telling a buddy in my tasting group yesterday that I do often find myself wishing I could take a time machine back to 1995 or so, buy a bunch of wines and lay them down in a preselected storage facility paid for up front, and then come back to today to collect my perfectly aged, cheaply purchased juice.
take the time machine to 1975 or 1965 and you'll be in even better shape.
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#14 Post by Mattstolz » March 27th, 2018, 5:33 pm

Matt Latuchie wrote:
Mattstolz wrote:I was telling a buddy in my tasting group yesterday that I do often find myself wishing I could take a time machine back to 1995 or so, buy a bunch of wines and lay them down in a preselected storage facility paid for up front, and then come back to today to collect my perfectly aged, cheaply purchased juice.
take the time machine to 1975 or 1965 and you'll be in even better shape.
Hey its MY time machine!

and actually you're right I think I'll just take it to both times. they're gonna be really confused at the storage facility when the guy who deposited a bunch of wine and disappeared in '75 walks in looking exactly the same 20 years later and then disappears again. but im gonna be drinkin' DRC I bought at a fire sale so whatever! neener

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#15 Post by Charlie Carnes » March 27th, 2018, 5:42 pm

Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:You sound like Victor!

The market for fine wine seems to oscillate. I'm not worried, but then again, I'm also not just starting to buy fine wine. I will say, I have bought more this past year than perhaps any other year in my life, due to an incredible run of vintages in the regions that I adore, a strong dollar relative to the Euro, and daily emails with deep discounts. I just bought today 6 bottles of 2012 d'Armailhac for $27.99. Classified Growh at house wine pricing, I like that.
It's not like all that "screechy" Chinon is flying off the shelves anyway... neener

But seriously, I am with you. I have bought more wine in the last year, including this year, than in a long time. Plus Champagne just keeps surprising with new finds all of the time. I do agree with Mark, that it might be harder for new guys to begin collecting/buying/drinking. They are just going to work hard for the booty.
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#16 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 27th, 2018, 5:57 pm

Matt Latuchie wrote:
Mattstolz wrote:I was telling a buddy in my tasting group yesterday that I do often find myself wishing I could take a time machine back to 1995 or so, buy a bunch of wines and lay them down in a preselected storage facility paid for up front, and then come back to today to collect my perfectly aged, cheaply purchased juice.
take the time machine to 1975 or 1965 and you'll be in even better shape.
1965 is a terrific vintage. For births. My birthyear. Not so great a vintage in terms of wine!

I could have started buying 1982s when I turned legal - was 18 in my era - but really was more interested in the ladies, frat parties and Crown Royal. I would not change a thing.

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#17 Post by alan weinberg » March 27th, 2018, 6:31 pm

check out other areas. Spain, Portugal, etc.

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#18 Post by Howard Cooper » March 27th, 2018, 6:55 pm

In 1982-1984 or so, I bought 1982 Gruaud Larose, Leoville Barton and Canon (among others) for $9-12 a bottle, DRC Grands Echezeaux for $35 and 1980 d’Yquem for $25 a 1/2.

I remember at that time thinking about how expensive wine had become my father and his friends bought 1970 first growths for $10-15 after the wine market crashed in 1973-1974.

Wine prices have been going up for a very long time now. A real shame, but reality.
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#19 Post by ky1em!ttskus » March 27th, 2018, 7:05 pm

alan weinberg wrote:check out other areas. Spain, Portugal, etc.
You’re just trying to keep us young’ns away from your precious. neener

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#20 Post by R. Frankel » March 27th, 2018, 7:37 pm

Markus S wrote:
Mark Golodetz wrote:... The demographics suggest that the market will continue to expand....
Well let's see, Japan's population is essential flat, China will be a nation of old people within our lifetime, Russia is declining in pop, the US under the new admin wants to limit immigration (one of the only drivers of our population gain), plus factor in a good plague or two (like the Spanish Flu outbreak or Zika or Black Death) which we are long overdue for, throw in some 'feel-good' wars that will reduce the drinkers and keep incomes low for awhile and maybe a couple of massive economic crises...yeah, I won't be worrying my little head over unaffordable wine prices. [cheers.gif]
Stagnation, war, plagues and market crashes. And here I thought I read this board for light entertainment and info about a hobby!

I’d prefer none of the above and steadily increasing wine prices [cheers.gif]
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#21 Post by GregT » March 27th, 2018, 8:50 pm

But maybe it won't happen.

Remember that Joe Kennedy supposedly said he knew it was time to get out of the stock market when his shoe-shine boy was passing stock tips. Shortly after the world got to enjoy the Great Depression.

When Drew Barrymore, a Khardashian, and countless sports figures and movie people are "into" wine and buying wineries, it's time for a correction. They'll lose interest, wine will be less fashionable, and there will be a glut of wine looking for a home.

A few years ago you couldn't touch some of the high end Napa Cabs. Then we had a downturn in the market and they became available at auctions and elsewhere.

Right now there is a lot of surplus if you're not focused on specific labels. People go out of business, lose distributors, sell out, and their wine finds its way to clearance racks and remainder shops.

The high end French and Italian wine will continue to sell because people want the pedigree. But places like Spain have people producing lots of wines over $100 a bottle that may be picked up by some people but that aren't going to be permanent fixtures in the wine market. Same with California, Washington, Greece, and elsewhere. Some will fill the demands of the growing population, but to the degree that they're responses to fads and fashions, they'll be available at some point.

And fashions in wine also change. Lopez de Heredia has a lot of old stuff because they couldn't sell it. Now people on this board are orgasmic over it. Conversely, there are producers in Napa who wouldn't let just anybody buy their wine a few years ago and now you can get on their lists without difficulty.

People are screwed for sure if they want name Burgundy. But they're also able to get a wider selection of great wines than any time in history, so there's a trade off. And they don't have to drink Pinot Noir either. So in many ways it's a blessed time to be a wine drinker.
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#22 Post by Bryan Price » March 27th, 2018, 8:54 pm

Sure would be nice to see some inflation-adjusted numbers for these expensive Bordeaux bottles. My thinking is if you like something because it is cool (I don't think that's anyone on this board), then you will definitely be chasing a moving target. I'm looking at YOU, whiskey and craft beer!
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#23 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » March 27th, 2018, 9:47 pm

If you want only top end BDX, Burg, some Rhône’s and Cali trophy wines, sure it’s crazy and getting crazier. But the world of wine is so much wider than that. To say people are screwed because they won’t be able to afford the tiny slice of the wine world that you prize is a pretty arrogant view IMO.
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#24 Post by ky1em!ttskus » March 27th, 2018, 10:19 pm

^ Huge +1.

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#25 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » March 27th, 2018, 11:26 pm

I think Mark is broadly right. Clearly, fine wine has gone up by far more than inflation - which means those wanting to buy the good stuff now need to shell out a greater portion of their disposable income to do so. Overall, this is probably a long term trend but I expect some wines / styles have already, and will continue, to flatten out. Who's still paying $500 for Masseto for example? I think top Burgundy will continue to become more ridiculously expensive because there isn't any ability to scale up production or substitute. But in most other areas, as other people have already said, there will continue to be relative bargains. Relative to the rest of the market, of course, not relative to what Mark used to pay :)!
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#26 Post by Chris Seiber » March 27th, 2018, 11:52 pm

Agree with David B. It may be too late to get in on DRC, Screaming Eagle and the like, but there is more good and great wine at attainable prices than ever.

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#27 Post by Mark Golodetz » March 28th, 2018, 5:00 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:If you want only top end BDX, Burg, some Rhône’s and Cali trophy wines, sure it’s crazy and getting crazier. But the world of wine is so much wider than that. To say people are screwed because they won’t be able to afford the tiny slice of the wine world that you prize is a pretty arrogant view IMO.

What an incredibly condescending little post. It's not just me, but practically every wine lover who would love to collect and drink these wines. Glad to see you eliminated Burgundy to help your argument; I would not, and if you want to experience the great ones, finding alternatives is pretty difficult. Perhaps you would tell me what to substitute for Dujac's Clos de la Roche or Tremblay's Chapelle Chambertins? Even their premier crus are getting hard to find and very pricy, never mind DRC, Roumier and Fourrier. All pretty unique wines, and ones that the new collector will have to pay a fortune to buy.

But let's leave Burgundy, and try a few Bordeaux. Hard to find substitutes for many of the top wines. You can always trade down- Lafite? well Ducru is close, but still not cheap. How about Beychevelle, not close but it's a good wine, right? Latour? I suppose Pontet Canet is making good wines these days, but again it's not really the same is it? Margaux? Palmer is nudging $300, so how about Rauzan Segla? Haut Brion and la Mission? Can't think off a real alternative there. Cheval Blanc and Petrus? Same.

Let's go further afield. Monfortino, doubled in the last couple of years. Well you can always go after Cascina Francia but that also has doubled and is getting pretty pricy. And besides nobody is going to mistake one for the other. Soldera? Chave? Allemand? Rayas? The blue chips are expensive, have a following and are tough to duplicate. The most obvious substitution are Giacosa white labels as an alternative to the reds. Although they are getting more expensive that really does work, as you can get a sense of the greatness of the wine for a fraction of the price.

I concede there is plenty of good drinkable wine out there, and I would happily drink a good $60 Barolo, or a Chateau D'Issan at the same price. Lovely wines, but that is not what I am talking about, I am talking about producers who make unique and incredibly special wines that people want to try.

In my day, and I suspect in yours, we had access to these wines at not unreasonable prices. So I find your smug assertion that the new collectors don't need to drink these wines really, well there is no other word for it than smug, after all you have drunk these wines, they haven't, and won't be able to without dropping a fortune.
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#28 Post by Otto Forsberg » March 28th, 2018, 5:11 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:If you want only top end BDX, Burg, some Rhône’s and Cali trophy wines, sure it’s crazy and getting crazier. But the world of wine is so much wider than that. To say people are screwed because they won’t be able to afford the tiny slice of the wine world that you prize is a pretty arrogant view IMO.
What an incredibly condescending little post. It's not just me, but practically every wine lover who would love to collect and drink these wines. Glad to see you eliminated Burgundy to help your argument; I would not, and if you want to experience the great ones, finding alternatives is pretty difficult. Perhaps you would tell me what to substitute for Dujac's Clos de la Roche or Tremblay's Chapelle Chambertins? Even their premier crus are getting hard to find and very pricy, never mind DRC, Roumier and Fourrier. All pretty unique wines, and ones that the new collector will have to pay a fortune to buy.

But let's leave Burgundy, and try a few Bordeaux. Hard to find substitutes for many of the top wines. You can always trade down- Lafite? well Ducru is close, but still not cheap. How about Beychevelle, not close but it's a good wine, right? Latour? I suppose Pontet Canet is making good wines these days, but again it's not really the same is it? Margaux? Palmer is nudging $300, so how about Rauzan Segla? Haut Brion and la Mission? Can't think off a real alternative there. Cheval Blanc and Petrus? Same.

Let's go further afield. Monfortino, doubled in the last couple of years. Well you can always go after Cascina Francia but that also has doubled and is getting pretty pricy. And besides nobody is going to mistake one for the other. Soldera? Chave? Allemand? Rayas? The blue chips are expensive, have a following and are tough to duplicate. The most obvious substitution are Giacosa white labels as an alternative to the reds. Although they are getting more expensive that really does work, as you can get a sense of the greatness of the wine for a fraction of the price.

I concede there is plenty of good drinkable wine out there, and I would happily drink a good $60 Barolo, or a Chateau D'Issan at the same price. Lovely wines, but that is not what I am talking about, I am talking about producers who make unique and incredibly special wines that people want to try.

In my day, and I suspect in yours, we had access to these wines at not unreasonable prices. So I find your smug assertion that the new collectors don't need to drink these wines really, well there is no other word for it than smug, after all you have drunk these wines, they haven't, and won't be able to without dropping a fortune.
This came across as more like name-dropping than a solid argument and thus I found your post as equally condescending as the one you argued against.

I love good Pinot Noir as much as the next guy and I'll happily drink good Burgundy whenever given the opportunity, yet I don't feel like I've been left out of something big even when I'm unable to fill my cellar with esteemed producers.

The world is full of spectacular wines and most times when I've been impressed by a wine has been when I've been drinking a wine or a producer I did not know beforehand - these are the wines I'm happy to fill my cellar with, not with producers a bigger audience has labeled as the top of the crop. After all, my cellar can hold only so many bottles and I can afford only so many, so I really don't see point in fretting about the wines I can't afford or get my hands on.

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#29 Post by Howard Cooper » March 28th, 2018, 5:14 am

Mark, again I ask, is there news here? This has been happening as long as I remember. You seem to be suggesting in your OP some new dynamic at work here. But I don't see it. I see the same problem that has been at work as long as I have been drinking wine - the number of wine lovers is increasing much faster than the supply of the best wine.

The supply of top wines has been increasing in the top wine regions over the past generation. For example, I remember when Lafite and Margaux, for example, were underperformers. That is no longer the case. Similarly, there are a lot more top producers of Burgundy these days and a lot fewer underachievers than when I started buying Burgundy, but again I don't see where supply can go up much more. But, is this really enough to mean a new dynamic?

So, I agree with your larger point - that wine prices go up - but wonder what is the news here?
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#30 Post by Howard Cooper » March 28th, 2018, 5:19 am

Chris Seiber wrote: there is more good and great wine at attainable prices than ever.
You obviously were not buying wine in the 80s. The great wines then cost less than the good wines now.
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#31 Post by Subu Ramachandran » March 28th, 2018, 5:20 am

Generally true, if you want to chase the "cult names" the prices are crazy. But one needs to consider few things:

1. Quality of viticulture and wine making is better now than ever before. Perhaps 50 years back it was mainly first-growth bdx or top names in Burgundy that were producing good wines. 25 years back the field expanded, now the list is lot longer.

2. The younger generation values diversity more than tradition. They are much more excited to try and buy a wine from a new region, with indigenous grapes, grown by a small yet very good generation producer. They are not excited about just another Cab or Chard from anywhere in the world. Just the other day at a retailer tasting, I saw Filipa Pato's wines sell out before any Pauillacs or Napa Cabs.

3. Food choices in the new generation is affecting a lot of what they buy. The question they are facing is whats a point of having a cellar full of Cabs, if I don't each much red meat. As the food consumption is changing towards healthier, fresher not fatty foods...so are the wines. The definition of fine wine is changing to lighter, fresher and often more towards white wine.

4. Climate change is and will be a big factor. Most of the so called grand-sites/crus are typically the warmer areas. So 100 years back that was the area where the grapes fully ripened. Now those areas are too hot to make "fine wine". In vintages like 15s and 17s in Piedmont, why do you need a Ginestra or a Brunate? One can get a "fine wine" at village level in a vintage like 15 in burgundy.

5. Trend is always changing...centuries back Chinon was much more valued than 1st growth bdx. Tokay from Hungary was the most expensive wine. Champagne was primarily sweet. The collectors from that era will be shocked to see what's trending now. I wont be shocked if someone told me Georgian wines are "the in thing" 50 years from now.

6. There are fine wine at great prices. There are great producers working with old vineyards, making world class wines at very affordable prices. One just needs to look beyond the keyhole. Granted it may not be available for $20. However, if one is keen on writing checks to Rothschild family or Stan Kroenke or LVMH or "Cult producer", that's his/her choice.

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#32 Post by Mark Golodetz » March 28th, 2018, 5:33 am

Howard Cooper wrote:Mark, again I ask, is there news here? This has been happening as long as I remember. You seem to be suggesting in your OP some new dynamic at work here. But I don't see it. I see the same problem that has been at work as long as I have been drinking wine - the number of wine lovers is increasing much faster than the supply of the best wine.

The supply of top wines has been increasing in the top wine regions over the past generation. For example, I remember when Lafite and Margaux, for example, were underperformers. That is no longer the case. Similarly, there are a lot more top producers of Burgundy these days and a lot fewer underachievers than when I started buying Burgundy, but again I don't see where supply can go up much more. But, is this really enough to mean a new dynamic?

So, I agree with your larger point - that wine prices go up - but wonder what is the news here?

It's a question of degree, and subjectivity. When I started collecting, I could afford these wines relatively easily. Recently, the rise in prices has been so significant I am certainly not chasing these wines any more, and I feel for the person starting out.
Last edited by Mark Golodetz on March 28th, 2018, 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#33 Post by Otto Forsberg » March 28th, 2018, 5:34 am

Subu Ramachandran wrote:Generally true, if you want to chase the "cult names" the prices are crazy. But one needs to consider few things:

1. Quality of viticulture and wine making is better now than ever before. Perhaps 50 years back it was mainly first-growth bdx or top names in Burgundy that were producing good wines. 25 years back the field expanded, now the list is lot longer.

2. The younger generation values diversity more than tradition. They are much more excited to try and buy a wine from a new region, with indigenous grapes, grown by a small yet very good generation producer. They are not excited about just another Cab or Chard from anywhere in the world. Just the other day at a retailer tasting, I saw Filipa Pato's wines sell out before any Pauillacs or Napa Cabs.

3. Food choices in the new generation is affecting a lot of what they buy. The question they are facing is whats a point of having a cellar full of Cabs, if I don't each much red meat. As the food consumption is changing towards healthier, fresher not fatty foods...so are the wines. The definition of fine wine is changing to lighter, fresher and often more towards white wine.

4. Climate change is and will be a big factor. Most of the so called grand-sites/crus are typically the warmer areas. So 100 years back that was the area where the grapes fully ripened. Now those areas are too hot to make "fine wine". In vintages like 15s and 17s in Piedmont, why do you need a Ginestra or a Brunate? One can get a "fine wine" at village level in a vintage like 15 in burgundy.

5. Trend is always changing...centuries back Chinon was much more valued than 1st growth bdx. Tokay from Hungary was the most expensive wine. Champagne was primarily sweet. The collectors from that era will be shocked to see what's trending now. I wont be shocked if someone told me Georgian wines are "the in thing" 50 years from now.

6. There are fine wine at great prices. There are great producers working with old vineyards, making world class wines at very affordable prices. One just needs to look beyond the keyhole. Granted it may not be available for $20. However, if one is keen on writing checks to Rothschild family or Stan Kroenke or LVMH or "Cult producer", that's his/her choice.
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#34 Post by Otto Forsberg » March 28th, 2018, 5:35 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:It's a question of degree, and subjectivity. When I started collecting, I could afford these wines relatively easily. Recently, the rise in prices has been so significant I am certainly not chasing these wines any more, and I feel for the person starting out.
The person starting out is not going to start collecting the wines you started your collection with. You don't have to feel for them.

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#35 Post by Joe B » March 28th, 2018, 6:06 am

Howard Cooper wrote:In 1982-1984 or so, I bought 1982 Gruaud Larose, Leoville Barton and Canon (among others) for $9-12 a bottle, DRC Grands Echezeaux for $35 and 1980 d’Yquem for $25 a 1/2.

I remember at that time thinking about how expensive wine had become my father and his friends bought 1970 first growths for $10-15 after the wine market crashed in 1973-1974.

Wine prices have been going up for a very long time now. A real shame, but reality.
Well, let’s hope for a wine crash then.
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#36 Post by Karl K » March 28th, 2018, 6:40 am

I am 42. I started collecting wine when I was 21. But I still feel like I am starting out, in the sense there is a lot more U want to buy and collect. So I feel like I am one in Mark’s category.

I feel lucky to have bought LMHB for 1/5 if what it is now, bought the one La Tache I have had off a wine list for 550 (95 vintage, new release).

I don’t make a ton of money but I am continuing to try to go along with this passion.
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#37 Post by Mark Golodetz » March 28th, 2018, 7:22 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:
Mark Golodetz wrote:
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:If you want only top end BDX, Burg, some Rhône’s and Cali trophy wines, sure it’s crazy and getting crazier. But the world of wine is so much wider than that. To say people are screwed because they won’t be able to afford the tiny slice of the wine world that you prize is a pretty arrogant view IMO.
What an incredibly condescending little post. It's not just me, but practically every wine lover who would love to collect and drink these wines. Glad to see you eliminated Burgundy to help your argument; I would not, and if you want to experience the great ones, finding alternatives is pretty difficult. Perhaps you would tell me what to substitute for Dujac's Clos de la Roche or Tremblay's Chapelle Chambertins? Even their premier crus are getting hard to find and very pricy, never mind DRC, Roumier and Fourrier. All pretty unique wines, and ones that the new collector will have to pay a fortune to buy.

But let's leave Burgundy, and try a few Bordeaux. Hard to find substitutes for many of the top wines. You can always trade down- Lafite? well Ducru is close, but still not cheap. How about Beychevelle, not close but it's a good wine, right? Latour? I suppose Pontet Canet is making good wines these days, but again it's not really the same is it? Margaux? Palmer is nudging $300, so how about Rauzan Segla? Haut Brion and la Mission? Can't think off a real alternative there. Cheval Blanc and Petrus? Same.

Let's go further afield. Monfortino, doubled in the last couple of years. Well you can always go after Cascina Francia but that also has doubled and is getting pretty pricy. And besides nobody is going to mistake one for the other. Soldera? Chave? Allemand? Rayas? The blue chips are expensive, have a following and are tough to duplicate. The most obvious substitution are Giacosa white labels as an alternative to the reds. Although they are getting more expensive that really does work, as you can get a sense of the greatness of the wine for a fraction of the price.

I concede there is plenty of good drinkable wine out there, and I would happily drink a good $60 Barolo, or a Chateau D'Issan at the same price. Lovely wines, but that is not what I am talking about, I am talking about producers who make unique and incredibly special wines that people want to try.

In my day, and I suspect in yours, we had access to these wines at not unreasonable prices. So I find your smug assertion that the new collectors don't need to drink these wines really, well there is no other word for it than smug, after all you have drunk these wines, they haven't, and won't be able to without dropping a fortune.
This came across as more like name-dropping than a solid argument and thus I found your post as equally condescending as the one you argued against.
Well good for you. Sorry that you can't tell the difference between argument and name dropping, and probably not worth the time to try and convince you. But what the hell! What you call me dropping names are the the names of producers all making wine that were not only available but quite affordable for someone on a relatively low salary in the early 1990s. In fact, I was able to buy them, something that new collectors will not be able to do, unless they are making serious money. Most people are not, so they have to find substitutes, which wth few exceptions are not in the same class.

I would advise you to try to think before you post, it makes for a more coherent narrative.
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#38 Post by Rob M » March 28th, 2018, 7:53 am

It's clear in Piedmont there has been significant price inflation, but most noticeably a few producers clustered at the high end. Monfortino went crazy with the 2010 vintage , $1300+, and Giuseppe Rinaldi in the U.S. market has gone haywire ($300+ for new release), B. Mascarello isn't as bad if you could find it in stock (I bought 2013 vintage in NYC for $150, and from a source in Italy for $95) but there are a ton of great options <$100. There are a lot of great options clustered in the $50-70 range. Heck, there are very good wines <$40 in Barbaresco.

The unique situation in Italian wine FWIW is that given the price escalations in the U.S. market and the slow moving nature of Italian business, the price the U.S. consumer is paying is way out of line with the actual price of the wine at the producer (Conterno Monfortino I believe is ~250 EUR ex-cellar, Bartolo is ~55 EUR, G. Rinaldi is ~40 EUR!), and more $$ profit is being made in the distribution channel than by the producers themselves. That seems unsustainable.

Anyway, punchline is that there is plenty of Barolo beyond Monfortino, and plenty of profound Barolo (or more accurately, Barolo that will be profound in 20-30 years!) is available for <$100.

Personally, I look at the collecting styles of older collectors and wonder if it is sustainable. I see people with more wine in their cellars than they can possibly drink in their lifetimes, and I wonder what happens when that hits the market.
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#39 Post by vincentD » March 28th, 2018, 8:02 am

I would agree with the point with the point but I have a few comments that mitigate it:
- This forum is bias toward super high end wines. There are plenty of excellent wines that have not increased in price with same inflated scale than top end Burg/Bx wines. A lot of buyers want the same vintages/producers and it is just not really rational.
- The point made by Subu is so true: wine quality has gone up big time. Bordeaux in the 70s sucked. Burgundy had many many bad wines. Not anymore.
- I would draw a line between Burgundy and Bordeaux for French wines. I don't feel there is a shortage of inventory for Bx. Prices have jumped way above what people are willing to pay and the stocks are very high. The economy of Bordeaux wine is not great right now and at some point, the resellers will have to unload the inventory. In Burgundy, I think we are reaching a little bit the limit of what people are willing to pay but not yet: I am stuck by the amount of 2011, 2013 2014 and 2015 Burgundy offers that I receive everyday.
- The argument of having auctions working really well and selling out can also be interpreted as why buying new releases at crazy prices whereas I can backfill cheaper. I could mean people are no longer willing to pay today's price for wines that need to be aged 15-20 years [and buyers are getting old]
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#40 Post by Otto Forsberg » March 28th, 2018, 8:51 am

Mark Golodetz wrote: Well good for you. Sorry that you can't tell the difference between argument and name dropping, and probably not worth the time to try and convince you. But what the hell! What you call me dropping names are the the names of producers all making wine that were not only available but quite affordable for someone on a relatively low salary in the early 1990s. In fact, I was able to buy them, something that new collectors will not be able to do, unless they are making serious money. Most people are not, so they have to find substitutes, which wth few exceptions are not in the same class.

I would advise you to try to think before you post, it makes for a more coherent narrative.
But your point is that you assume EVERYONE would want to collect these wines. My point was that no matter whether they were or weren't affordable back in the day or are or aren't now, it doesn't matter, if people are not interested in them. And here's the newsflash: most new wine collectors really aren't interested in 1er Cru Bordeaux, Cult Cabs or Burgs one bit.

As pointed out many times before in this very thread, the world is full of spectacular wines that are ridiculously cheap now and it is very likely that people will lament in 20-30 years how no-one can afford them anymore, while they were dirt cheap back in the day. Of course there are no substitutes for the greatest of Burgundies outside Burgundy, but neither have I seen substitutes for the greatest of pre-WW2 Colares wines, or classic Taurasi wines or Juhfarks from Somló. You can find these wines for very affordable prices for now, but if suddenly winds change and wine trends start favor them instead, things might look very different in the future.

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#41 Post by Jim Hartten » March 28th, 2018, 8:52 am

Mark, thanks for revisiting the never ending discussion on where wine prices are headed going forward. I am a regular buyer of what we often call Bordeaux QPRs, and I agree that the better of these Chateau have been seeing steady increases over time - that said, I think the real damage for me is seeing higher tier wines like Leoville Barton, Lynch Bages, Cos, Pinchon go up to prices I can't justify paying. So I think the price rises in the upper tiers has been more damaging to long-time collectors than price rises for value wines at the lower end.

As far as lower-end QPR Bordeaux, a wine like Gloria that recently came out in the $27-$32 range on futures is now $42 (2016). Other wines like Poujeaux, Meyney, Grand Mayne have also been creeping higher, but I think still offer good value relative to similarly priced wines from other regions. There seems to be a lot 2012 Bordeaux being offered recently (also a smattering of 2011s and 2013s), in many cases, at only slight discounts. Though I would add that many 2012s I have tried recently (bought off the shelf not on futures) have shown pretty well. Anyway, I vote to keep prices in check... [cheers.gif]

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#42 Post by Victor Hong » March 28th, 2018, 8:53 am

Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:You sound like Victor!

The market for fine wine seems to oscillate. I'm not worried, but then again, I'm also not just starting to buy fine wine. I will say, I have bought more this past year than perhaps any other year in my life, due to an incredible run of vintages in the regions that I adore, a strong dollar relative to the Euro, and daily emails with deep discounts. I just bought today 6 bottles of 2012 d'Armailhac for $27.99. Classified Growh at house wine pricing, I like that.
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#43 Post by Dennis Atick » March 28th, 2018, 9:05 am

Victor Hong wrote:
If you WineHunt, you pay less, not more, for fine wine. Otherwise, it must be nice to care not. [grin.gif]
I miss winehunter threads. Used to be like one per day on the old board. And here. People just don't share deals anymore? Or fewer deals?
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#44 Post by Dan.Gord0n » March 28th, 2018, 9:11 am

At least for me, there is a difference between drinking wine regularly and having great choices and collecting/pursuing wine as a serious hobby.

I agree with the comments that there is far more quality wine being produced now then ever before and that there are still plenty of wines from all regions in which to find great drinking and every day enjoyment and even excitement. With this view, I don't feel negative about the wine market and situation.

However, this is a board where collecting and pursuing wine as a serious hobby dominates. This perspective focuses on the "great" wines and often the "greatest" wines - perhaps often only 100+/- producers world wide and a small fraction of the wine market where pricing has gone crazy and where the mere entrance of only another 100-200 brand new serious, very wealthy collectors worldwide can create and has created market distortions in price and allocations.

I've been lucky over the last 20 years or so to have been able to try a large portion of what I would put on the list from those 100+ producer and many in a number of vintages and even buy quite a few of them. This access was very material to the growth of my excitement for this hobby - if I had never been able to buy and taste at the top, never been able to have those experiences, I don't think I would have ever become as passionate, bought as much or invested as much time, money, etc. in the hobby. Just wouldn't have been as fun for me if the true top of the wine world was never attainable for buying and drinking. That's not to say that I wouldn't have been very interested, wouldn't have bought and drunk as an enthusiast, but just that it wouldn't have been nearly as serious.

In fact, as my ability to buy those wines has slowly dried up (for instance, from being able to buy 2-3 bottles and sometimes more of pretty much any Burgundy at regular retail in 2002 vintage to basically nothing by 2010 vintage) and the pricing of the bottles that I do own have become ridiculous (making it feel harder to open them but for the most special of occasions), I have felt my "serious" interest in the hobby slipping away and my perspective changing far more to a "drinker" and mere enthusiast view - where admittedly I can get about 90% of the drinking pleasure but only about 25% of the serious collector pleasure. For instance, as much as I really enjoy popping that $50 "nice find", it is merely excellent wine to drink but little for me to be passionate about. For many years my Burgundy group would regularly get together and have an evening where we would focus on one particular Grand Cru Burg vineyard and open 15-20 bottles of the best producers/aged vintages - that was thrilling and could foster passion and excitement and I think we just about covered every vineyard so was very important developmentally in growing the seriousness of the hobby for me - while expensive then, it was still doable for us - not sure how doable now and probably impossible for us. Just not sure having a wine dinner focused on great village Burgs or a 1er cru vineyard would create the same level of interest and excitement or develop the same passion....very hard to go backwards so to speak. Perhaps I am in a lull and need to reset as all interests and hobbies can ebb and flow.....

I think it is with this serious collector viewpoint that many around here are lamenting the current wine market and lamenting the fact that to continue to pursue and enjoy the wines that have brought them so much excitement and pleasure in the past, the "investment" has become far too great. I am in that camp and, therefore, while I am optimistic about my drinking possibilities, I am pessimistic from my perspective as a serious collector.

At the same time, it would be great to hear from new collectors since it is too hard to put on the hat of a new collector and understand their view - what excites them and what drives the passion of the hobby for them is likely very different than what drove it for me.

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#45 Post by Thomas Keim » March 28th, 2018, 9:21 am

Joe G a l e w s k i wrote:I am seeing prices increase considerably in the USA. I think a lot of it is driven by economics.
As it has been since the end of Prohibition. Whenever I brag about selling 1982 Latour & Mouton futures for $33 a bottle - someone is always there to remind me that they paid $3 for the 1961 Latour on futures.
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#46 Post by Matthew.Rashbrook » March 28th, 2018, 9:36 am

Bryan Price wrote:Sure would be nice to see some inflation-adjusted numbers for these expensive Bordeaux bottles. My thinking is if you like something because it is cool (I don't think that's anyone on this board), then you will definitely be chasing a moving target. I'm looking at YOU, whiskey and craft beer!
I asked the CPI calculator to convert $30 April 1984 dollars into February 2018 dollars, and it told me $72.45. You can play around with dates/figures here: https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl ... ar2=201802

Regarding the OP, I think OP is correct regarding the effect. I'm not positive of the cause but the culprits he mentions seem to me some of the likely contributors. I would hazard a guess that the explosion of the number of rich people in China is the single biggest cause, and not one that rates to reverse in my buying lifetime (35 today, fwiw).

Comments to the effect of "Well, I can still get (wines not addressed in the OP) for a price I can afford!" don't address the OP and contribute little, if anything.

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#47 Post by Mark Golodetz » March 28th, 2018, 9:41 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:
But your point is that you assume EVERYONE would want to collect these wines. My point was that no matter whether they were or weren't affordable back in the day or are or aren't now, it doesn't matter, if people are not interested in them. And here's the newsflash: most new wine collectors really aren't interested in 1er Cru Bordeaux, Cult Cabs or Burgs one bit.

As pointed out many times before in this very thread, the world is full of spectacular wines that are ridiculously cheap now and it is very likely that people will lament in 20-30 years how no-one can afford them anymore, while they were dirt cheap back in the day. Of course there are no substitutes for the greatest of Burgundies outside Burgundy, but neither have I seen substitutes for the greatest of pre-WW2 Colares wines, or classic Taurasi wines or Juhfarks from Somló. You can find these wines for very affordable prices for now, but if suddenly winds change and wine trends start favor them instead, things might look very different in the future.

Yes EVERYONE would, even you. If I offered you a bottle of La Tache for the same price as a bottle of Taurasi; I am pretty sure you would take the La Tache. And if that was offered to board members, it would be close to 100% as well. They are interested as are neophyte collectors, and we get back to my original point, the blue chips are not affordable, so they are not going to dwell on it, and will look for other things. And I see it in NY with some of the sommeliers, they make the most of what you have, by hyping the hell out of these wines, and sadly showing contempt for more traditional regions.
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#48 Post by Doug Schulman » March 28th, 2018, 9:57 am

I'm so glad I don't define "fine wine" as only the top producers from the most famous regions.
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#49 Post by MHwhite » March 28th, 2018, 11:08 am

I came of age, in wine terms, in this decade. When I first came to California (in 2012,) there were a lot of 05/06/07 Burgundies on the market, and the prices weren't insane, so I was able to taste a fair bit of pretty good stuff around that time, and when you work in wine production in an affluent area, you get exposed to the classics and greats here and there over time. I think for wine lovers of my generation (I'm 31,) you just have to move on and find your own classics. I buy and cellar a lot of dry Riesling, some well-priced Chablis, Montlouis, Jura Chardonnay, as well as things like Baudry and Lapierre. Those wines are attainable.

White burgundy is my greatest love, but the better wines are just out of reach. And anyway, for me, the best examples of dry wines from the Rheinhessen are near qualitative equals of Grand Cru Burgundy, so while a $80 bottle of Wittmann Morstein is an expensive wine, it's nothing like what you'll shell out for Montrachet.
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#50 Post by Markus S » March 28th, 2018, 11:20 am

Thing is, the world of wine (heck, The World) has changed since the days of old Englishmen talking about Claret. Those that want to chase (as you seem to advocate) the big game will always do so, but I don't think you necessarily "learn" anything by drinking them that you cannot find in more affordable bottles. Perhaps there is the secret handshake that passes amongst the cognoscenti, but what have you really learned besides the fact that you can swallow expensive juice? Heck, I'd say even many of us old-timers couldn't afford certain wines "before" either. I've never had the salary that many of you here seem to have, so therefore have only had a DRC wine once, a Clos St. Hune once, and Yquem once...and on-and-on. While you may consider that a hardship, I assure you it isn't, as it forces you to get creative in thinking about what you can taste. I don't think we should limit the discussion about what is expensive and rare. The world of wine is much bigger than that.
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