Despite the continued market softness, a record amount of Chateau d'Yquem has traded on the Liv-ex Fine Wine Exchange this month. In total, almost half a million pounds of the world's most famous sweet wine has been bought and sold on the exchange in November. As shown by the chart below, Yquem's share of total trade has been steadily buiding over the last 18 months, although this month's numbers do represent something of a step change.
This increase in demand has also had an impact on pricing. If we chart the performance of 12 vintages of Yquem over the last year and compare it with that of the Medoc First Growths (represented by the Liv-ex Claret Chip Index), we find the Sauternes has significantly outperformed its red Bordeaux equivalents. Yquem's price climbed steadily over the period, posting a 7% increase by the end of October 2011. In contrast, the price of the First Growths has declined 6% over the same period.
Is Yquem – with its undoubted prestige, consistent quality and percieved relative value – being viewed as a defensive stock during a period of volatility? Or is the wine finally finding a firm market in Asia?
(Exchange members can view live markets for Yquem here.)