Market insights: “A dynamic start to the year at wine auctions.”

Cyrille Jomand, CEO of iDealwine sharing his views on the fine wine market

Cyrille Jomand, iDealwine’s CEO, shares his take on today’s market.

How is the fine wine auction market doing today? Have prices stabilised at last?

The market witnessed a price correction phase throughout 2023, as evidenced by the 22% overall decrease in the average price of wine over one year at iDealwine. This downturn started at the beginning of the final quarter of 2022 after having reached record highs in the first few months of the year with prices easing significantly, particularly for those wines that had seen their prices soar at the start of 2022.

We’ve spent the last year and a half consistently adjusting our estimated prices to reflect market realities as closely as possible, even though the market has proved to be quite volatile. Our efforts seem to have paid off, as prices now appear adequately aligned, and the balance between supply and demand is restored once more.

Transactions have risen since the start of 2024, and lots have been attracting more attention again. On average, since the start of spring, each lot up for auction has attracted more than three bids, with some of the most sought-after ones seeing as many as thirty bids (excluding lots with a €1 starting price which naturally generate a large number of bids). These are all positive signs, and the year’s rapid start at auction (+13.5% in auctioned value compared with 2023) is allowing us to look forward to this year with confidence.

Given the downturn in the market over the past year and a half, is it a good idea to sell your wines?

This is indeed a legitimate question, and we obviously cannot predict the market’s future. The international climate, and more specifically the geopolitical situation, remain extremely unstable, and we are aware that these two factors can exert a critical impact on our globalised market. That said, the extent to which this instability will affect the different buying zones remains difficult to predict – iDealwine counts some 70 nationalities among its buyers. So that covers the uncertainties, but let’s also consider the positives and the ‘green lights’.

One of iDealwine’s strengths lies in the great diversity of its customer base, with customers from all around the world, but also with a solid base of French customers. This variety helps to mitigate the risks linked to the global economy. Since the beginning of the year, for example, Asia has been racking up its purchases. Europe is also pretty dynamic these days – especially since we introduced the German and Italian versions of our website – as is the United States, where our presence has been somewhat weaker historically, but where we’ve been making great strides in recent years. What is more, our customer base continues to grow across the globe.

In addition, the diverse origins of our customers translate into a wide range of tastes and, naturally, of wines likely to appeal to wine lovers. For instance, while Hong Kong leans more towards Burgundy Grands Crus, Singapore displays a keen interest in Bordeaux Grands Crus. Meanwhile, the US appreciates leading names, particularly when it comes to natural wines, while Northern Europe is more interested in organic, biodynamic and natural wines. Overall, demand is diverse and complementary, allowing us to promote all kinds of wines, rather than focusing exclusively on the more classic Grands Crus.

The increasing variety of wines featured in iDealwine auctions has been further increased by the steady rise in the price of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines on the primary market in recent years. A number of long-standing customers, along with newcomers to the market, are now turning away from these regions, both on the primary and secondary markets. Or, more specifically, they have broadened their purchasing horizons beyond the two regions traditionally renowned for their Grands Crus production. Wine enthusiasts are more willing to seek out fine wines from other winemaking regions and end up looking for them at auction too.

Nevertheless, it is important to put this observation into perspective, since the classic regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône still account for 73% of the volume sold and 81.5% of the value exchanged at auction on iDealwine. As a result, these three regions make up a large proportion of collectors’ purchases, although each passing year has seen the trend lean towards greater diversification. Interest continues to grow, as enthusiasts remain on the lookout for fine wines, regardless of where they are produced.

To sum up, there are real uncertainties about the global economy, but our global reach and our diverse customer base allow us to spread and mitigate risks. The year has got off to a good start for our auctions, and the indicators we monitor closely suggest that this trend will continue in the months ahead.

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