A wine fair in Fujian province. (File photo/CFP)
The price of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, one of the five Bordeaux wines given the prestigious First Growth status, has tumbled due to weak demand and the poor weather last year from its price two years ago.
Many fine wines of well-known brands saw their prices drop significantly this year. The market value of the vineyard has shrunk from US$500 million last year to US$400 million, according to Shanghai's First Financial Daily.
A bottle of 2007 Chateau Lafite Rothschild was sold for £400 (US$642) at London International Vintners Exchange in July 2010. The wine's price rose to £700 (US$1,125) in July 2011 but dropped to around £500 (US$803) after a year. Zhang Chi, a sommelier with the Shanghai International Wine Exchange, said the international wine market peaked in 2009 and 2010 and turned sour in 2011.
A Chinese business trading mid-price and high-end fine wines said it imported around 1 billion yuan (US$160 million) in fine wines from Europe, including Chateau Lafite Rothschild, last year. It had only sold 20% of them by September this year. A former senior staff said the company offered 20%-30% discounts to reduce its inventory pressure, according to First Financial Daily.
Another wine wholeseller also said the Chinese wine market has weakened this year. A bottle of 2007 Chateau Lafite Rothschild was only sold for 3,300 yuan (US$530) in 2008 but rose to 8,000 yuan (US$1,280) in May 2010 due to speculation and strong domestic demand. By this Thursday, the price has declined to around 4,880 yuan (US$780).
Zhang said global economic sluggishness and the withdrawal of Asian buyers were the main causes of the price drop. A bottle of the wine produced in 2011 has been priced 30% lower than a few years ago. Extreme and fluctuating weather in Bordeaux last year has affected the quality of the wine and caused its price to drop, according to First Financial Daily.