The fine wine trends from 2023 – The iDealwine Barometer has all the answers

The 2024 iDealwine Barometer

As a leading figure in online fine wine auctions and a specialist online wine retailer, iDealwine has just published its annual Barometer. This comprehensive publication, spanning 180 pages, meticulously examines the fine wine auction market and explores the latest trends in the world of fine wine. With detailed insights into 16 wine regions and a list of up-and-coming producers in each, the Barometer is an invaluable resource for serious wine enthusiasts.

Price calm across almost everywhere

Analysing data collected from the 48 auctions held on in 2023, which saw 222,284 bottles go under the hammer, the report sheds light on fluctuations in prices and identifies bottles that sparked bidding frenzies, unveiling insightful trends in the fine wine market. Overall, 2023 witnessed a correction in prices following the substantial surge observed in the first part of 2022, with prices reverting to more moderate levels. The average auction price in 2023 stood at €152, marking a 22% decrease from the €192 recorded in 2022. Hammer prices ranged widely from €1 to €22,912 per bottle, the latter was recorded for a 2015 Romanée-Conti from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

While traditional French wine regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Rhône Valley continue to dominate sales, accounting for 73% of volume and 81% of value, lesser-known regions such as Jura, Savoie, Corsica, Provence, and Languedoc are gaining traction in auctions. iDealwine’s Barometer offers a comprehensive analysis of price trends across 14 French wine regions. With one in three wines auctioned in France passing through iDealwine’s doors, the company is well placed as a leading authority on French fine wine. Recognising the rising demand for fine wines beyond French borders, the Barometer also delves into Italian and global fine wines. For each wine region, iDealwine identifies the producers on their watchlist for 2024.

Key highlights from 2023 (including taxes and fees)

  • Most sought-after at auction: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – 388 bottles were auctioned for €1.5 million, with an average price of €3,911 per standard bottle, marking a 15% decrease
  • Highest-priced lot: 6 magnums of Petrus 1982 – sold for €43,820
  • Highest-priced bottle: 1 bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 2015 – sold for €22,912

Six major trends from 2023

Noteworthy price adjustments for the Big Eight

There has been a notable decrease in prices for top estates like Rayas, Leroy, Auvenay, Rousseau, Roumier, Bizot, Lachaux, and Grange des Pères. This drop is not necessarily due to reduced demand for high-quality bottles but is rather a reflection of geopolitical tensions and various economic factors such as rising interest rates and other unfavourable macroeconomic factors, making would-be bidders pay more attention to prices. The price decrease sees prices return to pre-pandemic prices, or at least to those recorded in early 2021, which is why we can refer to a ‘price correction’ in Burgundy

Burgundy maintains its leading position albeit slightly loosening its grip

Burgundy remains highly sought after, although its dominance has slightly lessened, capturing 40% of auction sales in 2023. Despite a 5% decrease from the previous year, Burgundy remains a strong contender at auctions. When it comes to sales volume, Burgundy finished the year in second place, behind Bordeaux, having accounted for 24.7% of the volume auctioned on iDealwine.

Strong demand for mature vintage Bordeaux

Buoyed by the success of older vintages (75% of top bottles sold were from pre-2010 vintages, a trend unique to the region), Bordeaux sales saw a 2% increase, showcasing resilience amidst market calming and widespread industry ‘Bordeaux bashing’. Although the average bottle price dropped 7%, this decrease is less dramatic than the figure seen in other French regions such as Burgundy (-35%) and Champagne (-20%). Bordeaux thus proves that it remains a solid long-term investment option and continues to be a safe bet at auction.

Rarity drives prices

When looking at the wines and producers that saw their prices soar in 2023, rarity stands out as the common denominator. This is especially true when it comes to wine from producers who are sadly no longer with us. It is also evident for micro-production estates (and micro-traders), extremely old vintages, and estates no longer in production.

Cult winemakers in lesser-known regions fuel demand

Despite the general decline in fine wine prices, regions like Alsace, Savoie, and Corsica experienced price rises. Accounting for just 13% of the sales prices, these regions are home to winemakers producing wines coveted by wine enthusiasts in the know.

The organic wave continues

The share of organic and biodynamic wines sold at auction continued to rise in 2023, reflecting a shift towards sustainability in wine production. The same can be said for natural wine too. High-priced wines tend to be organic or biodynamic (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, d’Auvenay, Leroy, Leflaive…), or labelled natural wine (Bizot, Selosse…).

Read about all this and more in the 2024 iDealwine Barometer