Birkins, Timepieces or Wines: Which is the Current Top Luxury Asset?

If you said Birkins or mentioned timepieces, you’re wrong. Wines have overtaken Hermès handbags and rare whiskey to dominate the alternative investment table, according to a recent Luxury Investment Index (Q2 2021) from Knight Frank.

While it may or may not have anything to do with the lockdown which left the world with no need to go anywhere, the prices of investment-grade wine went up 13 per cent over 12 months to the end of June. Andrew Shirley, editor of the Luxury Investment index at Knight Frank, explained that the two assets that have been at the helm in recent years – rare bottles of scotch and Hermès handbags – have relinquished their places at the top of the index, recording negative 12-month growth.

A bottle of Bordeaux wine is a top luxury investment asset
Wines, especially Bordeaux wines, are in top demand in the luxury investment category. Image courtesy of Estal

“Wine is doing really well, not going crazy but growing nicely. There are no signs of over-exuberance,” said Nick Martin, the Chief Executive of the online wine collection platform Wine Owners who also helps Knight Frank compile the data for its Fine Wine Icons Index.

Surprisingly, (or maybe not!), Birkins did not even make second place. Instead, timepieces and autos came second and third with gains of 5 and 4 per cent respectively – nowhere near the 13 per cent that wines recorded.

Martin also said that bottles of Bordeaux are “doing well this year” in recognition of the fact that some back vintages, including 1996 and 2000 Bordeaux, are helping attract more interest from collectors as they represent great value for money.

Lovers of luxury are acquiring vintage cars, like this post-war Alfa Romeo 6C500
Autos, like this post-war Alfa Romeo 6C500, are also in demand among the luxury class. Image courtesy of Robb Report

So, before you take off the cork of that bottle of wine that has been lying pretty in your cellar, you may want to take a pause: are you about to down a bottle that may be potentially worth thousands of dollars? If you’re not particularly attached, maybe you should try to find out the current market value of your vintage. It just might fetch you an unexpected nice, tidy sum!

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