Growth in fine wine is slowing... But growth is still growth.
That is the message emerging from the wine sector as we approach the end of 2012.
Growth in the sale of fine wines among the big five wine auctioneers has fallen from 75% in the stellar year of 2010 to 14% during 2011, reports Bloomberg.
That is despite a $110m record breaking year for Acker, Merrall and Condit in 2011.
But is this bad news? Not quite...
As you may already know, the collectibles markets work on supply and demand.
We put the lower values for Bordeaux witnessed in the past year mainly down to an increase in supply.
Because of this, we strongly expect to see auction houses reduce their number of wine sales next year in a bid to stabilise prices.
This should ensure that, if you're thinking of selling your first growth collection, you'll receive a good price.
And remember that demand, especially in Asia, is still growing...
The rising wealth of increasingly prosperous China has seen demand soar for vintage wine in recent years.
And there could be some surprising new areas of growth in 2012.
Simon Staples, the Hong Kong head of sales and marketing at wine broker Berry Bros & Rudd, told Bloomberg that his clients were looking to "Bordeaux second growths and the top 10 names in Burgundy."
This year's slowdown suggests that the wine sector could be set to finally stabilise, enabling wine investors to again get a handle on the market.
Always think long-term
Indeed, for buyers taking the long-term view, there is much reason for optimism.
According to the Live-ex Fine Wine 50 index, which tracks the prices of the world's 50 most collectible wines, prices are up by 121.2% compared with five years ago. This is despite a 12.7% drop off during the past 12 months.
Watch this space for the latest news from the global fine wine markets.