Asia fine wine demand sends BI sales soaring

Asia fine wine demand sends BI sales soaring

Asian fine wine buyers and the ‘most successful Bordeaux en primeur campaign in seven years’ have helped UK-based wine merchant BI to a 43% rise in sales in the first half of 2017.

  • BI sales hit £50 million thanks to Asia boost

  • Bordeaux 2016 en primeur sales best since 2010

  • UK buyers still behind 70% of en primeur sales 

  • 2017 weather damage good news for stock holders

BI, formerly known as Bordeaux Index, said that sales hit £50 million in the first six months of 2017, up 43% compared to the same period in 2016.

BI attributed the boost to a jump in Asian demand, with clients from the area taking advantage of more favourable exchange rates and accounting for 50% of the merchant’s total sales in the half-year.

Bordeaux 2016 en primeur generated £14 million, versus £8.5 million for the 2015 vintage campaign, BI said – proving that it wasn’t a disappointment for everyone. This led to a 49% increase in BI’s overall Bordeaux wine sales in the half-year.

Sales of BurgundyChampagne and US wines were up by more than a third.

The results offered some hope for the UK market, with UK buyers accounting for 70% of Bordeaux en primeur sales, despite concerns about the impact of sterling weakness and political tumult.

BI’s Asian success was led by its LiveTrade platform, which its said generated a turnover of £17.2 million in the six months and saw Asian traders behind 70% of sales.

It added that it has also seen a 79% increase in rare spirits sales, heavily driven by Asia-based buyers’ interest in rare whiskies.

In France, Rhône could be a region to watch, BI said.

Top producers, such as Château RayasJean-Louis Chave and Henri Bonneau, have seen sales increase 64% so far this year, ‘due to greater demand for back vintages being bought as an alternative to Burgundy’.

Looking ahead, BI’s managing director, Gary Boom, predicted that the fallout of 2017’s disastrous weather in some parts of France would be good for those with well-stocked cellars.

‘The plight of the 2017 harvest, which has been heavily hail and frost affected, suggests that a further future supply constraint is to be incorporated. Whilst this is awful news for affected winegrowers, it is at least welcome news for holders of stock.’

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