Red Obsession': How China Is Transforming the Bordeaux Market

Published In: News Articles Created Date: 2013-04-28

I'm not above a glass of Trader Joe's Two-Buck Chuck.

But for those of you with disposable income that invites angst over terroir, or wine's origins—particularly for Bordeauxs—no other fine wine topic has quite ignited passion like China's new wealthy. Their sheer purchasing power has transformed the Bordeaux market. "As the demand for these wines becomes great and greater from this new market, naturally the prices will rise," said filmmaker Warwick Ross, whose documentary "Red Obsession" recently debuted in North America at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. The film, co-directed by David Roach, is narrated by actor Russell Crowe...And oh boy, how prices have risen.

During the height of the Bordeaux ‘bubble’ in 2011, prices for highly sought after bottles soared. Cases of recent vintages of top-tier wines such as Château Lafite were going for as much as £15,000, roughly $23,200 USD.

"The Chinese market has really woken up again to fine wines," said Joe Marchant, director of Bordeaux Index US. As China's economic rise minted more millionaires, curious wine buyers from Hong Kong and mainland China have been showing up at chateauxs in France's Bordeaux region. "A lot of people had access to really cheap cash," Marchant recalled.

Market Outlook

While still off the 2011 highs, The Bordeaux Index has rallied about 7.4 percent since December 2012, with some individual wines up 20 percent or more, Bordeaux Index's Marchant said.