A case of Petrus 1982 was snapped up for nearly £20,000 at a recent Sotheby's fine wine auction. As Ivor Bennett reports, it's seen as a sound investment in a market that can offer returns as high as 25 percent.
20,000 pounds for just 6 bottles of wine. A fortune for some, but for others a bargain. After all, Petrus 1982 is not just any old plonk, says Cult Wines director Tom Gearing. SOUNDBITE (English) TOM GEARING, DIRECTOR, CULT WINES, SAYING: "In 1983 when that wine was released onto the market, they probably only made 2000 cases and it was originally released at 500 pounds per case. Wind forward 35 years, you can imagine the consumption impact and effect that is going to have on that particular wine." The case was on sale at Sotheby's last week. A fine wine auction where sales totalled over 600,000 pounds. With interest rates elsewhere still rock bottom, there's a growing thirst for something that's less commodity, more luxury. SOUNDBITE (English) TOM GEARING, DIRECTOR, CULT WINES, SAYING: "I could see maybe a return of say 8-10 percent consistently over a 5-7 year period. But obviously the wines that are priced most attractively, you could see even superior returns and if they're scored very highly by critics, returns can actually increase quite spectacularly in the region 20-25 percent per annum." Many of the buyers come from Asia, where some wines have managed to gain almost mythical status. Limited edition artwork and gold leaf labels adding to their cache. And then there's history... The rarest bottles at this London wine shop are kept under lock and key - some over 200 years old. SOUNDBITE (English) TOM GEARING, DIRECTOR, CULT WINES, SAYING: "You would argue at that point in time, ok are the contents of that bottle actually going to be enjoyable to drink? You'd mostly say that it might've turned into vinegar. But win also has this other quirky aspect to it. For the rarest wines, from Chateau Lafite Rothschild, from places like Petrus or great Burgundy producers, they almost become a historical artefact and just a collector's item in itself." It's not just for the super-rich though. An initial investment of £5,000 is apparently enough to get you started. That and the ability to resist the temptation to consume.