Not every wine can be called an investment wine – just like not every wine „the older the better”! It is the ability to maintain high quality wines over a long period of time that is a key differentiating factor. Most wines must be drunk within 3-6 years of production.
What about investment wine?
Typical wine of investment quality is „non-delivery” for several (sometimes even over a dozen) years after production, after which it enters the so-called „drunkenness window” lasting several decades. After the period of 70-80 years, it slowly begins to „die” (although there are positive tasting notes for wines over 100 years old – these are exceptional cases).
Another factor defining the category of investment wines, after longevity, is the consistently highest quality of subsequent vintages. All yearbooks of a given producer should be scored at 90 or more points on the 100-point scale.
Investment wine not for mass production
The last factor defining investment wine is the method and scope of limiting its production. In the industry, it is accepted to provide production volumes in crates, each containing 12 bottles of 0.75 litre capacity.
Limited investment wines
Investment wines are always produced in small quantities: from several hundred boxes per year to (at most) tens of thousands of boxes. The production limits are laid down by law – the area in which a given producer may grow vines is clearly defined and the maximum production capacity per hectare is limited.
In practice (slightly simplifying the situation) it can be said that investment wines are mainly wines from two French regions: Burgundy and Bordeaux. Wines from Bordeaux, included in the so-called „Napoleonic classification” of 1855, are particularly important for potential investors.
Investment wines: napoleonic classification
In 1855, the main producers were grouped into five quality categories, based on prices at that time for a wine box. First Growths is the first group of producers of the highest quality. Cru Premiere: Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Latour, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Haut Brion and (from 1973) Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
In the second group – Second Growths – we can find such producers as Chateau Montrose, Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, Chateau Cos d’ Estournel and Chateau Rauzan Segla. It is worth mentioning that the producers were undisputed – although not in the 1855 classification. For example, Domaine Romanee Conti (Burgundy) or Chateau Petrus.