The Brexit vote has breathed so much life into the UK’s fine wine scene that it is beginning to drain the market of available stock, according to wine merchants BI.
Sales at BI have risen by 26 per cent since the June referendum when compared with the same period of 2015, after the dip in the value of sterling coaxed a surge in buyers from Asia, the US and Europe to invest in the UK market.
As the pound dropped to a 31-year low in the immediate wake of the referendum result, sales to Asian buyers jumped eight times higher than the previous day on BI's trading platform.
However, the extended spike in sales is now causing “significant” price rises, BI has said. Wines from 2007 vintages have now come under “considerable availability pressure” and those from 2004 are “looking to be the next in line to vanish from the market”.
Demand from Asian buyers has come in across the board, though so-called "sub-prime" vintages that are bought to be consumed rather than invest in have made up many of the highest volume performers in both July and August.
Gary Boom, chief executive of BI, said:
Almost regardless of what happens in the back half of the year, 2016 is destined to be looked upon with considerable satisfaction due to a robust En Primeur campaign and now rising market prices becoming increasingly locked in.
There is no question that while the seeds of market recovery were planted in late 2015 Brexit has provided the blossoming impetus. Three months on from the vote the fruits of the wine market are looking ripe.
The company's LiveTrade Index, which tracks the performance of more than 300 wines from Bordeaux and Champagne, has also risen 17.5 per cent so far this year, taking it to a five-year high of 134.04.
At its peak in 2011, the index reached 150.1, though over the following three years the fine wine market as a whole suffered a more than 30 per cent price correction. This followed a lengthy period of declining prices, with much of the market posting flat sales in 2015.
The fine wine market has been touted as a safe investment haven amid volatility in the wider stock market, as vintage investments tend to perform well under a weaker pound and have a number of defensive characteristics.