British fine wine and spirits merchant, Bordeaux Index (BI), has seen its sales top £51m for the first time since 2011 with Chinese and Asian buyers contributing 40 percent of the company’s sales. The company has found that most Chinese and Asian customers buy the fine wines to consume rather than invest.
BI has posted a 6.1 per cent increase in overall sales in the first half of 2018, even as the 2017 Bordeaux En Primeur campaign struggled with weak buying. Last year was a good year for sales of Bordeaux vintage wines, as more Chinese and Asian wine lovers pour their cash into pricey bottles of rare Bordeaux.
Almost half of sales of Bordeaux fine wines came from customers in Asia last year, most of them in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore.
Asian customers are buying up cases of fine and rare wines and drink them rather than selling them on like British and European collectors, according to the live trading platform BI Fine Wine.
“Those customers are collectors, but it's rare that the wine we send to Singapore or Hong Kong will be traded back to us. It's going there to go into people's collections to be consumed.”
European and British customers still accounted for the bulk of BI’s customers at 50 percent, while 10 percent were from America and the rest of the world.
En Primeur campaign sales were down 50 per cent from the previous year to £6m compared to £14m in 2017, leading to lower sales for Bordeaux wine in the first half.
However, the overall increase suggests that consumers are continuing to purchase vintage fine wines.
One sale in Singapore consisted of a Glenfarclas Family Cask comprising 52 bottles for £100,000.
Rare whisky sales have been predominantly from Asia. The USA and rest of the world accounted for the remaining 10 per cent of sales.
BI's live trade platform provided the company with 39 percent of total sales at £20m. Haut Brigon 1989 and Margaux 1990, both mature Bordeaux wines, have been the best investments, delivering an investment growth of 29 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.
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