Fine wine news roundup: 7-13 March
Hospices de Nuits auction sets new records
The 59th annual Hospices de Nuit auction set a new record for a single barrel as it raised a total €1.6 million last week.
While there were 29 fewer lots on offer than last year, the average price of a barrel was 34% higher. A barrel of Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru ‘Les Saint-Georges’ (Cuvee Georges Faiveley) raised €24,000, marking a new record for the Hospices.
Meanwhile, the charity pièce, a barrel of Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru ‘Les Didier’ Cuvee Fagon, was sold for €42,242 – almost matching the all-time record. Proceeds from this lot will be donated to France Alzheimer, with the rest of the money raised by the auction going towards the Hospice’s own activities.
Burgundy sees soaring demand for Cremant sparkling wines
Global demand for Cremant de Bourgogne wines saw a sharp uptick in 2019, according to Burgundy’s wine council, the BIVB.
Exports to the UK rose by 67% by volume and 42% by value, while the US market saw both rise by nearly 23%. Merchants in Japan also demonstrated increased appetite for the wine, with exports up 40% in volume and 23% in value.
In fact, a relatively small 2019 harvest in Burgundy meant that producers have been forced to use reserve wines to maintain Cremant supply, the BIVB said. Without these reserves, the 2019 harvest would have been 21% down on the five-year average, and around 42% lower than 2018.
High demand for Cremant helped to cement a record year for overall Burgundy wine exports in 2019, with shipments hitting nearly €1.04bn – a 10% increase on the previous year.
London Wine Fair to host two high profile auctions
This year’s London Wine Fair has teamed up with Chiswick auctioneers to host two fine wine and spirits sales as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations.
The first sale will take place at 10.30am on 20th May and will feature 150 lots including an imperial of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1969 – further consignments are currently being accepted.
The second sale – which takes place at 2pm on the same day – will feature 30 lots with proceeds benefiting drinks charity The Benevolent.
Both auctions will be overseen by Sam Hellyer who can also be contacted for valuations and further information at firstname.lastname@example.org. The London Wine Fair takes place from 18-20 May at Olympia.
Austrian wine – one to watch?
Austrian wine exports soared past €180 million for the first time last year thanks to increasing demand from a greater number of markets.
Exports rose 9% in value to €185.4m, while export volumes rose 20.5%. Its total number of markets now sits at 102, up from 64 in 2009.
Both red and white wines were in demand, with bottled red wines seeing very positive growth thanks to the increasing reputation of Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch.
Chris Yorke, managing director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB), said: “The 2018 vintage gave Austria’s winegrowers the opportunity to serve new markets and open new market segments.
“We are, of course, extremely pleased that this has been achieved and that the level of value in quality-oriented markets has been increased.”
Vinexpo New York shows fine wine market’s continued enthusiasm despite coronavirus
The third annual Vinexpo New York closed last week with slightly reduced numbers due to travel concerns surrounding the coronavirus, but those in attendance made it clear they remain enthusiastic about the market.
Attendees dropped off this year from around 3,000 in 2019 to 2,200 in 2020, but Vinexpo New York organisers Diversified said it had expected lighter numbers due to tariffs and coronavirus concerns that have impacted travel throughout the industry.
A number of merchants and exhibitors, meanwhile, have said they believed the event was successful despite these challenges. Speaking to thedrinksbusiness, Mary Gorman McAdams of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) said: “It has been quite busy for us, and there definitely has been an interest in wine education.”
Meanwhile, Steve Melchiskey, president of USA Wine West, commented that the show had exceeded his expectations. “We brought 21 producers from eight countries, and we met with a number of top buyers, including those from Lidl and Hannaford. In just one hour at the event we had more success than we’ve had at other US shows.”
It’s not yet clear whether Vinexpo will continue its run in 2021.