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The majority of wine (95%) trades hands through primary retail channels and only a very small amount find its way to one of the few specialist wine auction houses in Australia, usually through the ”three D’s” of auctions [1].

Wine changes value over time based on perceived quality and it is impossible to tell in advance whether the change will be good, bad or indifferent. Collectors, speculators and wine professionals all trade through wine auction houses where they can buy and sell maturing bottles of uncommon, out of stock wines. Most wines that are traded in any sort of volume have been stored properly with vendors being vetted and the provenance of the wine confirmed. Wine that is traded a second time does not have any value beyond what the buyers are willing to pay. That price is determined through series of bids over time, buying patterns are established and, whilst the wine still holds favour in the community, its price will stabilize. Any perceived change in the quality, volume or social awareness will be reflected in the price.

The following chart shows the top 25 Australian fine wines traded throughout Australia by the leading specialist wine auction houses[2]. They are ranked by volume, the hammer price averaged over a 12 month period and compared against the 2011 wines sold by volume at auction.

During 2012 Australian specialist wine auction houses turned over a combined $17.5 Million of wine. When compared to only a single North American auction house (Acker Merrall) which turned over $80.3 Million it is possible to put the Australian secondary wine market in perspective. It is Wickman's belief that the Australian marketplace is in an ideal geographic position to compete on the international stage but until the Government reviews its tax treatments of secondary market wines then we remain in a similar position that Hong Kong was until early 2008.

Rank (Volume)WineVintageRank (Volume) Last YearAverage Price (2012)Average price movementPrice movement by %
1PENFOLDS Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, South Australia1998 1$75$33.9
2D'ARENBERG WINES The Dead Arm Shiraz, McLaren Vale2002 na$62($2)-2.5%
3PENFOLDS Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, South Australia1996 2$86$88.9
4ROCKFORD Basket Press Shiraz, Barossa Valley2009 na$78$0
5PENFOLDS Bin 95 Grange Shiraz, South Australia1996 4$433($4)-0.89%
6WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE Michael Shiraz, Coonawarra1993 na$55$12.1
7ROCKFORD Basket Press Shiraz, Barossa Valley2007 na$75($1)-1.6%
8ROCKFORD Basket Press Shiraz, Barossa Valley2006 na$91$78.1
9PENFOLDS Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, South Australia2004 13$53($1)-2.6%
10ROCKFORD Basket Press Shiraz, Barossa Valley2005 na$93$0-0.17%
11PENFOLDS Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia1998 7$49($3)-6.1%
12CLARENDON HILLS Astralis Syrah, McLaren Vale2012 na$202$0
13CLARENDON HILLS Astralis Syrah, McLaren Vale2010 na$202$0
14PENFOLDS Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, South Australia2002 19$52($1)-2.3%
15PARKER COONAWARRA ESTATE Terra Rossa 1st Growth Cabernet Merlot, Coonawarra2000 na$58($4)-6.6%
16HENSCHKE Mount Edelstone Shiraz, Eden Valley2006 na$74$11.6
17KAY BROS AMERY Block 6 Old Vine Shiraz, McLaren Vale2003 na$59$0-0.018%
18PENFOLDS Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, South Australia1997 na$51$24.2
19PENFOLDS Bin 95 Grange Shiraz, South Australia1997 15$333$72.1
20PENFOLDS Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, South Australia1994 14$64$58.3
21PENFOLDS Bin 95 Grange Shiraz, South Australia1990 20$508($13)-2.6%
22D'ARENBERG WINES The Dead Arm Shiraz, McLaren Vale2000 18$55$35.8
23KAY BROS AMERY Block 6 Old Vine Shiraz, McLaren Vale2001 na$61($9)-15%
24LEEUWIN ESTATE Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River2001 na$53($21)-40%
25D'ARENBERG WINES The Dead Arm Shiraz, McLaren Vale2004 na$50($1)-1.3%

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Notes

1. Traditionally the auction trade responds to Death, Divorce & Debt. There is also a 4th "D" that I usually find applicable to the wine auction trade; Doctor’s Orders. There are also things like moving house, changing tastes, the sudden realisation that there is too much wine in the cellar and no children that are interested in taking it seriously and a variety of other reasons that are not at first apparent when people start buying up wine by the dozen to be stored for decades.

2. Values have been aggregated and estimated based on national secondary market data available publicly from the leading wine auction houses in Australia.

 

Author: Mark Wickman
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  • Vintage (NOT the bottling year)
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