Put your money in the cellar
Forget the banks and stocks and shares -- it seems investment in wine is turning in a pretty penny, on the back of rising demand from customers in new markets such as China.
In the wine world, the Liv-ex 100 is the benchmark, a sort of Dow Jones or ISEQ, and it tracks the movement of 100 of the most sought-after fine wines, mainly from Bordeaux but also Burgundy, the Rhône, Champagne and Italy.
The index is calculated monthly and the month of May alone saw a rise of 4.4pca, while the year-on-year increase was 37.15pc.
Connor McClay at Newry-based wine merchants James Nicholson (jnwine.com) says they have seen an increase in investors in Ireland this year.
"With banks offering low interest rates on savings and uncertainty in the world markets, people are looking to find alternative places to put their money. We have more and more of an increase in people from the Republic buying wine as an investment," he says.
Connor cautions that, in the same way as stocks and shares, you have to think about the resale value and remember that an investment can go down as well as up, but advice is on hand.
Jessica Lavin of Berry Bros' has been blown awayby interest in top-end Bordeaux 2009s in the UK and Ireland. Admittedly, the hype around the 2009 vintage probably drew buyers out.
"There are a lot more people coming to us to invest in wines because they have been burnt by shares," she said.
A lot of customers are spending about €5,000-€10,000 on the 2009 and some have already done really well. A 12-bottle case of Lynch-Bages bought at about €1,032 in June is now trading at €1,380.
Even better news, I'm told, is that the taxman doesn't consider it an appreciating asset, because it is a consumable. I suppose if that policy ever changed, you could at least drink it before he came calling!
STAR WINE Viña Maipo Gran Devoción Carmenère Syrah 2008 - This Chilean range is great value at the offer price. A full-bodied supple blend of Chile's signature red grape, with 25pc Syrah added, it is loaded with juicy, smoky red and black fruit with touches of black pepper and hints of vanilla spice, after eight months in French and US oak. Great with a steak or roast beef. €9.99 (on promotion until September 7). Available from Dunnes Stores.
Take Two Wines
Omrah Plantagenet Pinot Noir 2008 - silky smooth wine from Western Australia. Spicy with fresh, sweet strawberries, gentle vegetal notes and a touch of smoke. Medium to full-bodied but light on tannins, and a good choice with chicken, turkey, lamb or duck. 14pc alc. On offer for €12 (minimum order of 12 bottles) at Cellar Master, Stillorgan.Also available at Fallon & Byrne, Chatham Street; Hole in the Wall, Dublin 7; www.thewineshop.ie; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Martins, Fairview; Florries, Tramore; Sweeney's Glasnevin; Bin No 9, Clonskeagh.
Berry Bros Extra Ordinary Claret 2006 - a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend selected for Berrys by the legendary Jean-Michel Cazes of Chateau Lynch-Bages fame and drinking well now. Medium to full-bodied and so mellow, its elegant structure supports rich and smooth, dark blackcurrant and plum fruit flavours plus a touch of tobacco. 12.5pc alc. €15.25 Available from bbr.ie. Minimum order €100. Free delivery on orders over €200.