Besting the Luxury Wine Slump

What’s the best way to take advantage of the current slump in luxury wine sales?


“It used to be chic to have something that was more expensive than your neighbor had. That has changed. Nobody wants to brag about an $800 bottle of Napa wine these days. Some cult wineries in Napa — where bottles had been strictly allocated and people had been on waiting lists for three or four years — have been selling their wines to consumers and the trade at a deep discount. Some are going for 50 percent of the original price.”

— Michael Mondavi, Creator, M by Michael Mondavi, and Owner, Folio Fine Wine Partners


“Your best chances are with what we call the orphan vintages, those following a great year. For example, 2000 was a fantastic year for Bordeaux. It got a lot of press, and everybody stockpiled the vintage and drove the prices up. For 2001 the wines were still great, but prices were softer. These are wines that may still be sitting somewhere and may be ready to drink, or near ready to drink, and you can snap them up at a fraction of the initial cost.”

— Ramon Narvaez, Wine Director, Adour at the St. Regis Washington, D.C.

“Although wine prices have been less responsive to the crisis than stock prices, some luxury wines are less expensive now than they were in August of 2008. For instance, the Liv-ex 100 fine-wine index shows a price drop of 18 percent from August 2008 to July 2009 for Bordeaux grands crus. Now is the time to buy if one wants to stock up on Bordeaux.”

— Karl Storchmann, Managing Editor, Journal of Wine Economics, and Associate Professor, Economics Department, Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington