When we think about wines with a global reputation, we tend to think of France first and foremost. Certainly when we talk about wines that are popular within the world’s biggest market for red wine, China, we tend not to talk about the wines of the new world. But why not? South Africa’s wines are gaining in popularity, their quality has been proven, and it seems that China has taken an interest — if recent reports are to be believed.
As was recently revealed by a BWC Management and Consulting publication, fine wine investment has been rising in Asia by 40%, compared to only 10% in the rest of the world. Even though there was great expectation for an increase in China’s involvement in the international wine market, these new figures wildly exceeded previous estimates. It all began back in 2009 when the Chinese arranged some highly profitable Sotheby’s auctions that were held in Hong Kong. In accordance with predictions made at that time, China has emerged as an international leader in the fine wine trading. In a few short years the Chinese market has moved up to number five on the global list of wine consumption and imports more wine from Bordeaux than its UK and German counterparts.
Wine Consumption Versus Investment
In those earlier years, wine purchased by the Chinese was predominantly for drinking pleasure. Although that trend has also increased, savvy Asian investors quickly understood the value of safely investing in fine wine. It may have been spurred on by the sale of a litre of Chateau Petrus that brought in £58,000 at the Hong Kong auction, but for whatever reason, the tendency of wealthy Chinese businessmen to safeguard their money by investing in fine wine is now well known. As a matter of fact, they not only invest in wine to versify their financial portfolios, but they also buy it as impressive gifts to give to their appreciative friends. This expensive habit was the focus of an article that came out in an annual report regarding the richest individuals in China. The Chinese Millionaire Wealth Report stated that not only do the Chinese buy the world’s finest vintage for personal pleasure or for investment, but also to gift to their friends.
Low Risk Investment in Fine Wine
The Senior Private Client Portfolio Manager of BWC Management & Consulting, Samuel Cheung is not surprised. According to him, the Chinese simply realised that investment in stocks and shares can be very unstable so they’re taking advantage of the low risk nature of wine investment.