Italian Fine Wine as an Investment 

Unless you have been living under a rock, it will not have escaped your notice that French wine no longer reigns supreme when it comes to investing. Venture capitalists are waking up to the fact that other countries have the potential to topple Bordeaux and Burgundy off their top spots.

Italians Do it Better

The rapid ascent of Italian wines has not gone unnoticed. Alongside the greats from Bordeaux and Burgundy, Italian wines such as Brunello Di Montalcino, Bartolo Mascarello, as well as the Super Tuscans are now highly prized by wine collectors and are gaining traction in the investment market. Wine merchants reported investor activity spreading beyond the familiar cast of big names but also noted that there remains a certain note of prudence when it comes to longevity in smaller producers. 

With a 112% increase in the number of Italian wines on the Liv-ex classification between 2019 and 2022 (representing 5% of the Italian fine wine market), investors would be wise to look at smaller producers from Umbria, Abruzzo, and Veneto when diversifying their portfolio. 

Why are Italian wines a good investment?

Data from Liv-ex shows Tuscany’s Sassicaia as being the most traded Italian wine in 2021, behind three ultra-famous Bordeauxs. If this doesn’t pique your interest in the boot-shaped country’s vino, then perhaps some data might help. 

According to LiveTrade – the Bordeaux Index’s fine wine trading platform – major Italian wine producers increased their worth by over 20% between November 2020 and 2021. The good news is that this trend shows no sign of slowing in 2022. And the clear leader of this spectacular drive? Super Tuscan wines, notably the aforementioned Sassicaia, and in particular, the fabulous 2019 (which gained a spectacular 40% between February and March 2022). Consider also the 2010 Tignanello, which jumped a whopping 75% in two years from 2020 to 2022. For those who are interested in finding the unicorn, the rare 1977 Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT increased its worth by 123%, driven by the perfect storm of low supply and high demand. 

Some say the rise of Italian wine’s popularity could be due to the exemption of the 25% fine wine tax levied by the Trump administration stateside. Under Trump’s rules, fine wine from EU countries such as France was eligible for a quarter of its worth in tax. Italy, for some reason, did not fall into this category. The absurd law was revoked in June 2021 by President Biden, but our American friends had already got a taste for Italian vino by then. 

Why Piedmont Wine Makes a Good Investment

Tuscany is, of course, full of famous names, but that is not to say that it is the only region worth looking at in Italy. Piedmont is growing market share by value, and Liv-ex shows in September 2021, not only had Italy accounted for a record 16% of trades by value year-to-date on its platform, but wines from Piedmont were becoming increasingly popular. Consider Barolos such as Conterno Fantino, which offer superb longevity and return on investment for diversifying your portfolio. But be quick, there is broadening interest in Piedmont, which will undoubtedly drive prices up in the not-too-distant future.

If you are unfamiliar with the lovely region in northern Italy, Piedmont is to Tuscany what Burgundy is to Bordeaux. Smaller, lower production volumes, lower liquidity, more complex and arguably better Piedmont wines add performance and value to a wine investment portfolio. Historically critics rate top Piedmont – literally translated as “the foot of the mountain”, with similar quality to the Bordeaux First Growths, but their prices offer a lower entry point and strong returns. 

For investors looking for a well-diversified wine portfolio, including an Italian stallion is a must. 

Three top Italian Wines to Invest in

Add one of these wines as a critical part of your investment strategy. 

Rocca di Frassinello, 2016

This mighty Merlot from the cellars of Rocca di Frassinello was one of the season’s most exciting. Hot on the heels of the phenomenally successful 2015, the 2016 Baffonero pulled high scores from both Galloni and Wine Enthusiast Magazine (93/100 in both cases). The wine is typical of a SuperTuscan: powerful, rich and intense, it opens with aromas of ripe dark fruit, cedar and mocha. Tertiary flavours include ripe blackberry, espresso, coconut and plum jam alongside fine-grained tannins. Ageing is anticipated at well over 15 years.

Barolo Ginestra “Vigna Sorì Ginestra” 2017

The flagship wine from the house of Conterno Fantino in Piedmont. This producer has been making big, bold, beautiful Barolos worth noticing for some time now. This 2017 DOGC vintage is multi-layered and multi-dimensional, and captures all the Piedmonte personality of this producer. There’s plenty of energy in this wine. We suggest cellaring for at least five years or more to reap the full rewards of this fantastic wine.

Barolo Castelletto “Vigna Pressenda 2017

Conterno Fantino have been making exceptionally high quality wines from Piedmonte since 1982 and in 40 years, they have gone from strength to strength. Vigna Pressenda is one of Fantino’s more elegant wines – although, frankly, they are all on top of their game. Made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes from the southeast Castelletto vineyard, the Pressenda is a powerful wine that leans towards femininity. Just 6,576 bottles of this vintage were released, meaning secondary market value is likely to soar once it reaches its drinking window.

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