Expert’s view

Investing in wine: what the experts think

A Northern frontier and a Brexit red tape victory

Northern frontier

Climate change has shifted the boundaries of wine production in Europe and North America, said Patrick Temple-West in the FT. Canada, for example, has made “big strides as a pinot noir producer”; and Britain, along with other countries like Denmark, is now part of Europe’s “northern wine frontier”.

That is already affecting drinking and investment trends, said Lucy White in the Daily Mail. Sales of Chapel Down, England’s largest sparkling wine producer, have been on a roll, prompting the Kent-based firm – which is listed on “the challenger stock exchange”, Aquis – to scale up production and open a new, larger winery. “I used to say we were a pimple on the backside of the champagne elephant,” said CEO Frazer Thompson, who is leaving this week after two decades leading the business. “Now I think we’re more of a festering boil.” 

In the pink

Chapel Down investors with more than 2,000 shares (currently worth around £1,200) get a third off the price of wine bought through its website – perhaps easing the disappointment of the company’s flat shares in recent years. By contrast, prices of Europe’s best investment wines have been rocketing, said Katie Souter on the investment site Vin-X. “In a buoyant market, the leading wines have delivered 25-35% growth in the first six months” – led by pink champagne, according to the fine wine marketplace Live-Ex, which places Louis Roederer Cristal, Rosé 2008 at the top of its top ten list. Champagne may be fizzing, but “the key observation” from the list is that price increases and returns “are being enjoyed across all regions and at an impressive level”. Investors should ensure they “adopt a similar regional composition when planning their portfolio”.

Red tape victory

The Government’s decision to scrap a costly piece of “Brexit red tape” has given the UK trade a welcome filip, said Richard Woodard on Decanter.com. The move to junk compulsory “VI-1 certificates” on imports was dubbed “a fantastic outcome” by The Wine and Spirit Trade Association, which had warned that the forms – “plus the need for lab tests on wine” – would bring imports from the EU “to a standstill”. Avoiding that disaster is certainly something to toast.

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