Burgundy: An Ascent to Wine Heaven

2024 is set to be an exciting year for wine collectors and oenophiles. Despite the economic situation, the fine-wine market is daring to be cautiously optimistic. At times like this, the constancy and reliability of the region of origin is paramount; Bordeaux and Tuscany are two cases in point, but how does Burgundy fit into this context?

Investment in Burgundy wines requires not only well-founded specialist knowledge but also sufficient capital, since wines from the best producers in the region are rare and expensive. Underlying this, is a fundamental difference to Bordeaux. Whereas in Burgundy a producer often processes the grapes from a few vines in a specific grand cru, filling a couple of thousand bottles, Bordeaux produces many thousands of 12-bottle boxes of Premier grands cru classés. Thus, depending on size, a wine estate in Burgundy produces a fairly large number of regional wines – some labelled appellation d’origine, some from individual vineyards – while the Gironde region in Bordeaux as a rule offers a range of a main or premium wine and alongside a secondary wine. For example, the Domaine Armand Rousseau covers about 14 hectares and produces two village wines, three premier crus and six grand crus. Château Mouton-Rothschild has more than 90 hectares and delivers up to 30,000 boxes a year to the market.

If we look at the leading index for sales, the Liv-ex Burgundy 150, we see a steady rise from 100 to over 160 index points between January 2021 and late 2022. Since the spring of 2023, the rate has fallen somewhat. At the end of 2023 it was at 137 points, which is still a very good rate. The auction held every year before Christmas in support of the Hospice de Beaune signalled a trend reversal; the 2022 vintage now hitting the market is receiving a very positive reaction from the experts. Besides symbolising good quality, 2022 also denotes the most prolific production of wine for 23 years. Some wine growers have been able to double the amount they bottled in the previous year. A reduction in prices is not expected for the young products, although the kind of marked increase seen in recent years will probably not materialise. The improved accessibility of the young wines and their positive resonance may well be just the things to boost the market with a new dynamism.

Besides the great classic names among the producers, we find newcomers bringing new zest and sometimes grandiose wines, at very reasonable prices, onto the market. However, the wines from a handful of wine growers like Arnaud Ente and Lamy-Caillat are so rare in this market segment and so coveted on the secondary market that they can only be found on the wine lists of select restaurants.

The bottom line: when buying Burgundy wines, which, whether red or white, are among the most fascinating wines in the world, you should keep your eye on the investment value, without forgetting that these are first and foremost consumer products.

Only someone who has experienced a glass of Romanée-Conti knows what it’s like to be in “wine heaven”, to savour its fragrance and its taste. But to do this, you must first open the bottle. People who might like to share this moment with you certainly won’t be very far away.


Wines and Spirits powered by Falstaff, 26 April 2024, 13:00
Palais Dorotheum, Dorotheergasse 17, 1010 Vienna

Tel. +4315156099304

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