Like the commodity markets and the gem and jewelry markets, it is worth paying some attention to the wine auction market to see if presents a tell for the larger luxury market and the overall inflation trade that seems to hang in the background everywhere. Wine, it almost need not be said, is categorically different from all of those because it is a consumable. Indeed, it is perishable. So let’s not go too far in extrapolating from the wine market. Here is the Wine Spectator‘s year-end roundup:
despite a solid showing in the second half of 2009, the overall size of the global wine-auction market declined 16 percent in 2009. According to figures released by the major commercial auction houses, worldwide sales of fine and rare wines fell from $276 million in 2008 to $233.35 million in 2009, placing the total revenue at pre-2006 levels.
The United States, the largest market for collectible wine, saw the biggest pullback, realizing $106.05 million in 2009, a 36 percent decrease from 2008. New York sales fell 33 percent to $72.38 million. Internet sales dropped 11 percent to $28.67 million. Not all markets were dealt a recessionary blow, however. Hong Kong wine auctions rose 113 percent in value, to more than $64 million, a function of vastly increased volume of both wines on offer and the number of sales, as well as a better economy overall than that of the U.S.
Global Wine-Auction Market Declines for Second Year (Wine Spectator)