'Lafite 1982 gives 59% annual investment return,' says leading wine seller

We've already reported on the record attendance figures at Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, the region's largest international wine and spirits exhibition (see our report, May 28).

While the 800 exhibitors from 32 countries demonstrated that Asia is the current major driving force behind the global fine wines markets, they also confirmed the value of one vintage in particular: the Lafite 1982.

The explosion of Lafite 1982 as a collectible and investible wine is confirmed by figures released by leading fine wines dealer the Antique Wine Company.

According to the seller's own figures, three years ago the firm was supplying Lafite 1982 priced at £10,000 per case.

In 2010, this figure has risen to £40,000 per case - an annual growth (CAGR) of 59% without inflation. What's more, every case sold by the company, along with other Lafite vintages, has gone to China.

Other auction houses' sales figures also bear out the Antique Wine Company's evidence that the 1982 Lafite is a hugely viable investment.

Back in March 2004, two bottles of the '82 Lafite sold at Christie's for $381.29 and $471. In February of this year, two other bottles auctioned at Acker Merrall & Condit for a whopping $3,660 each.

According to commentators, the success of Lafite 1982 in
China is partly because translates well into Mandarin

These figures show a CAGR of 41% and 46% respectively. Meanwhile, cases of the Lafite '82 have apparently grown in value by 40% per annum.

Edward Roberts International in Chicago sold a case for $4,000 back in 2003. More recently, also in February of this year, Christie's auctioned a case for a massive $38,400.

Elsewhere, figures compiled by Vinfolio and Global Wine Stocks put the average annual appreciation of the '82 (between 2003 and the present day) at around 33%.

The Antique Wine Company's CAGR calculation nearly doubles this - a sign that the growing value of the 1982 Lafite combined with the prosperous Chinese markets offers great investment opportunities to buyers.

According to his blog, the Antique Wine Company's longstanding expert Stephen Williams asked Lafite's winemaker Charles Chevallier why the Lafite is proving so popular in China.

"He answered, two reasons, the first being that 'Lafite makes the best wine in Bordeaux...' which is perhaps true," writes Williams.

"But the second reason was probably equally important: 'Lafite is a name that is pronounceable in Mandarin, and there's also something special about the word "la feet" in the world's biggest, fastest growing economic force.'"

For now, as China continues to consolidate its status in the wine markets, global collectors and buyers don't need to speak fluent Mandarin to know that the '82 Lafite is an extremely viable asset.



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