Bitcoin in a Bottle – The Investment Wines

Bitcoin in a Bottle – The Investment Wines

We look at which wines have provided the best returns over the past five years and find some surprises.
By Don Kavanagh | Posted Saturday, 09-Dec-2017
It’s a hoary old story, so often repeated that it has almost become an urban myth – if you had invested $100 in Bitcoin in 2011, you’d be a millionaire today.

Of course, there would have been some fairly hair-raising ups and downs along the way, but if you had invested your $100 in the cryptocurrency you could have realised your investment on November 29 at a tidy $3,773,758.93.
Of all the investment options, Bitcoin is the only one that has seriously challenged wine for returns in the past five years or so. Wine had better returns than real estate, gold and stocks last year and the top end appreciates at dizzying speed.

Take a look at the big names of Burgundy – DRC, Leroy, Jayer and the rest – and they are soaring in value. The First Growths of Bordeaux are also confidently appreciating each year, while Napa hasn’t seen too many wines depreciate either.

So it got us to wondering what the next batch of superstar wines would be? Which wines, had you invested in them five years ago, would have given the best return? Which wines are the Bitcoins of the vinous universe?

Well, obviously, this wasn’t a job for mere mortals, so we passed it on to Wine-Searcher’s data team, that fearless bunch of adventurers who dare to brave areas of our databases that scare the rest of us. We gave them some criteria, too. The wines must have been available in November 2011 and today, with a minimum base level of offers. And they have to be wines that have genuinely appreciated in price, rather than simply wines where human error launched the average price into the stratosphere.

And, since most of our users are based in the US, the wines had to be available there. This eliminated some wines but it has given us a more robust selection to work with. The nature of the story meant that we had to plump for specific vintages, too, but rest assured that all these wines are currently available. Also, because of the volatile nature of prices, the cut-off was the last day of November, so please note that some prices may have shifted slightly since the numbers were collected.

The top five wines are, as you would expect, a mixed bag, but one thing they are not is predictable. While there are some familiar names, there are others you might not have even heard of. However, most of them have one thing in common – a hefty score from Mr Parker’s Wine Advocate. It seems the best way to predict value growth in wine is to look for wines that meet the Wine Advocate’s definition of a great wine, and to look in Spain and the US, rather than raking through the more predictable regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux.

It isn’t necessarily all about scores, though, as you will see as we go through the list of wines you should have bought five years ago.

1. 2010 Peter Michael Ma Danseuse Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast This winery has been seducing the Wine Advocate for some time now and this wine – in only its second vintage – was awarded the coveted 100-point score. Immediately, the price shot up from an already-steep $124 to $552, a jump of 445.7 percent and easily our biggest margin of increase. Oddly enough, its stablemate, which was also awarded 100 points, doesn’t make this list.

2. 2009 Bodegas Alto Moncayo Garnacha, Campo de Borja This Spanish red was something of a surprise, until we looked into its background and found the inevitable sign spark for a massive price hike – 100 points from the Wine Advocate. The score emerged in November 2013 and the price soared from a relatively modest $44 to peak at $300. It subsequently receded to $174, a leap of 395.7 percent.

3. 2007 Côte Bonneville DuBrul Vineyard Carriage House Red, Yakima Valley Now this wine is very interesting. It doesn’t have the impetus of a big Parker score to shove it skyward, but this blend of Cabernets and Merlot is wowing consumers and critics alike, and enjoying marked success. The wine generally has an average price of $51, which is in line with where the 2007 started, but a good vintage and scarcity has lifted it from $47 in 2012 to $180 today, a 382.2 percent increase.

4. 2009 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon An American classic, this wine offers a fascinating insight into wine pricing and the value of a brand. It isn’t the most-awarded or highest-scoring wine on this list, but it has more than tripled in price across the period we looked at, going from $45 to $138, a lift of 306.6 percent. What is so fascinating is that the price history graph on the wine page shows it is gaining in price more rapidly than the average Napa Valley Bordeaux blend.

5. 2000 La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja DOCa Our final wine takes us back to Spain and a wine that has flourished despite the occasional setback. While most critics gave it solid, if unspectacular scores, Spain’s El Mundo Vino damned it with the faintest of praises, a score of 11.5 out of 20, representing “a wine of acceptable quality”, according to El Mundo’s own scale. Well, it would appear that consumers find it very acceptable, with the price going from $37 in 2012 to $106 today, a rise of 286.9 percent.

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