Chinese interest in lower ranking chateaux increasing, say negociants

There has been much talk of bubbles bursting and markets correcting surrounding the sales of First Growths in China lately. Earlier this year an unprecedented 59 of 821 lots, including cases of 1961, 1995, 2000 and 2005 Lafite, went unsold at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong.

Despite this worrying trend at the top of the Chinese Bordeaux market, negociants are claiming all is not doom and gloom. They make the point that where prices are beginning to slide for the First Growth estate, labels lower down the pecking order of the 1855 classifications are beginning to attract more attention.

Wines like 5th growths Croizet-Bages and Pedesclaux in Pauillac, or Cantemerle in Medoc, are selling well in China. Pedesclaux, for example, is now selling for about £15 per bottle in China, where, until recently, it was only £10. Negociants are claiming that the price will rise to £20 in six months time.

Brands such as Chateaux Belgrave, another fifth growth from the Haut Medoc area, are also selling well in China and have now sold out of the 2009 and 2010 en primeur and have no back vintages.
Negociants also talk of Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois Cambon La Pelouse as a ‘very significant’ wine in the Chinese market.

Many dealers in the China are pointing to this growth in the Chinese mid-market as a sign that the Chinese wine drinker is maturing. No longer obsessed by the big names of Lafite and Petrus, they are beginning to learn that fine wine needn’t always come with a five figure price tag. While the prices at the top end of market remain stagnant, however, there will some very nervous dealers between Bordeaux and Hong Kong.


Leave a Reply