Short Sales of Lafite 09 Cause a Stir

This year’s short selling of Chateau Lafite 2009 on Liv-ex has angered some buyers, while others tend to see it as inevitable and even vital for pricing.

The current Lafite vintage has not yet been released by the chateau, but is nonetheless already on the trading block for £11,750 per case. However, it has only reached £10,000 in an actual sale. In addition, Lafite’s second wine Carruades de Lafite has received a bid for £1,000 per case, although it has also not yet been released. While some industry experts have deemed the practice of short selling wine as shameful and irresponsible, others tend to take a more philosophical standpoint and view the current offerings as a historically significant event for the industry that is somewhat unavoidable, in part thanks to China’s growing interest in fine wine.

For example, this is the first time the fine wine industry has witnessed the short selling of wine, a development that has received mixed reviews, with some seeing it as a natural progression in efforts to develop fine wine as a highly regarded asset class. Furthermore, wine merchants tend to dislike this practice the most, since it tends to cause chateaux to increase release prices, and merchants have to deal more directly with the clients.

On the other hand, some industry veterans believe the short sales will not actually affect the release prices, while still others point out that short sales are very common investment vehicles outside of the fine wine industry, and that they could be key to price recovery in the market. Regardless, Liv-ex claims that all trades will be fulfilled and that their en primeur supply is secured by bank guarantees with limits in place for all suppliers.



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