The Best Liquid Investments 

On the occasion of an upcoming wine auction, we explore why the ‘liquid investment’ is among the most interesting assets and find out which are the unmissable bottles.

Article sponsored byCambi Casa d'aste
Monsanto Castle, Chianti Classico, Il Poggio. Estimate: €1,800-€2,000. Photo © Cambi
Monsanto Castle, Chianti Classico, Il Poggio. Estimate: €1,800-€2,000. Photo © Cambi

Gianni Agnelli once said: "I prefer to invest in wine than in shares listed on the stock exchange: if the investment goes badly, I can drink it, with the shares I can't do anything about it." 

Wine is today one of the most interesting – and profitable – alternative safe haven assets in which to invest. According to Liv-ex, a reference platform that provides a series of fine wine indices that track prices for certain groups, in the last five years, those who have invested in bottles of the Liv-ex 100 index (the 100 most sought-after wines on the secondary market) have seen a performance increase of almost 30%, with higher peaks for some French regional wines.

Montalcino, an isolated hill in the Val d'Orcia. Photo © Cambi, with the patronage of the Brunello di Montalcino wine consortium
Montalcino, an isolated hill in the Val d'Orcia. Photo © Cambi, with the patronage of the Brunello di Montalcino wine consortium

Why should one invest in fine wine?

Firstly, because of the diversification of the portfolio. Each asset, in addition to the financial markets, is an additional possibility of having a good economic return in the short- and especially long-term. The ROI of wine, says the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, is second only to the art sector. In fact, it reaches +11% in the annual sphere and +192% in the ten-year sphere. Secondly, investing in wine, a perishable asset, is tax-free: if financial returns are subject to taxation, wine is not because it does not fall under specific legislation. Finally, there is a lot of demand. Wine sells easily, but for better results it is important to be patient: in general, the more the bottle is left to age, the higher its revaluation will be. 

Il Marroneto, Brunello di Montalcino. Estimate: €1,500-1,800. Photo © Cambi
Il Marroneto, Brunello di Montalcino. Estimate: €1,500-1,800. Photo © Cambi

Let's find out now, thanks to Cambi’s upcoming 22 April auction dedicated to fine and collectable wines, which are the wines best invested in today. The areas can be divided into four macro categories: fine Italian wines (the 3 Bs) , great French wines, champagne, and spirits.

Italian wines, the 3 Bs of excellence

Giacomo Conterno, Barolo, Monfortino, reserve 1952. Estimate: 500 - 1,000 €. Photo © Cambi
Giacomo Conterno, Barolo, Monfortino, reserve 1952. Estimate: 500 - 1,000 €. Photo © Cambi

Brunello, Bolgheri, Barolo: the three keywords for investing in Italian wines without hesitation. The regions are Tuscany and Piedmont. Two years ago, Sassicaia 2015 (the best wine in the world, according to Wine Spectator in 2018) went from €110 a bottle to €360 in just one week. Brunello, on the other hand, guarantees a very high yield investment: profits grow directly proportional to its refinement, as the Brunello di Montalcino Wine Consortium reveals: its value triples just after bottling, therefore even the most recent vintages are interesting (2016, 2015, 2010, 2007, 2006, 2004). As for Barolo, in the last year Giacomo Conterno with Barolo Monfortino has recorded the best results, in particular the 2012 vintage.

Great French Wines and Champagne

Romanée Conti, Romanèe Saint Vivant, Grand Cru, 2012. Estimate: €1,000-1,500. Photo © Cambi
Romanée Conti, Romanèe Saint Vivant, Grand Cru, 2012. Estimate: €1,000-1,500. Photo © Cambi

Again there are more Bs: Burgundy and Bordeaux. If you look at the 2019 ranking of the best (Liv-ex) investment wines it is France that dominates, with 42 Bordeaux wines (among which include Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Petrus, Haut Brion), 34 Burgundy ones (above all, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which in the last period has seen a +13% in younger vintages, and Domaine Leroy), four from Rhone (Hermitage, Côte Rôtie and Châteauneuf-du-Pape), and finally seven from Champagne, among which (besides Moët Chandon), Krug and Louis Roederer stand out, both in the top five of the best investment wines of last year.

Louis Roederer, Cristal, Imperial 6 lt, 1990. Estimate: €4,700-5,000. Photo © Cambi
Louis Roederer, Cristal, Imperial 6 lt, 1990. Estimate: €4,700-5,000. Photo © Cambi


Rare spirits

Macallan, Pure Highland Malt Scotch Whisky. Estimate: €2,300-2,800. Photo © Cambi
Macallan, Pure Highland Malt Scotch Whisky. Estimate: €2,300-2,800. Photo © Cambi

Even when it comes to spirits, it's the rarity that makes the difference. For Whiskies, the scarcity factor has enormous potential: the bottles, full of years of aging, often have real stories to tell. Macallan, in its limited editions, is always the best whisky in which to invest: last year a bottle from 1926 reached €2 million at Sotheby's. For Cognac lovers and collectors, the labels to focus on are those of great records and limited editions: Delamain, Courvoisier, Remy Martin, Camus and Hennessy.

Remy Martin, Centaure Cristal Fine Champagne Cognac. Estimate: €700-1,000. Photo © Cambi
Remy Martin, Centaure Cristal Fine Champagne Cognac. Estimate: €700-1,000. Photo © Cambi

The Cambi auction will be held online on 22 April. The near 500 lots in the sale include a rich selection of the best Italian wines, including Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo and Barbaresco, French wines, Bordeaux and Burgundy as well champagne, and important liqueurs and spirits.

Whether you are an expert collector, a wine lover or a gourmet, Cambi’s sale is an unmissable opportunity to add some prestigious labels to your cellar.

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