Talking Trade – Hope on the horizon for US tariffs?

US Trade Representative Nominee Katherine Tai had her confirmation hearing this Thursday (25 February) during which she stressed the need to engage with global trading partners. Many will no doubt hope this is a step forward for the US in mending its trade relationships. Her position is now awaiting confirmation by both the committee and Senate. The USTR announced in early February the 25% tariffs would not be changed but they are set to be reviewed again in six months’ time, likely with Tai in charge.

In additional policy news, 50 UK wine importers, distributors and retailers, representing between them 70% of wine sold in the UK by volume, signed an open letter to the government to warn of the “burden” to business the introduction of VI-1 forms would create. You can find the letter in full here.

Even with continued headwinds to trade, secondary market activity surged in February. Continued 2018 physical releases from Bordeaux, along with new releases from Burgundy, Italy and the United States have all grabbed the market’s attention.

Bordeaux’s trade share by value saw a slight drift this week but the region looks set to close February with a share 5% greater than it had in January.

Burgundy also saw a decrease in activity. The 2018 vintage leads trade for the region but we have observed an uplift in 2019 trade throughout the month.

Champagne and Italy both saw increases. The former was led by a large share of rosé changing hands (a sign of spring in the air?) and the latter by wines from Piedmont.

Chateau Pontet-Canet Pauillac 2010 was the most traded wine by value this week; alongside its 2009 vintage. The 2009 and 2010 Bordeaux vintages were released at the height of the China-led bull run which led to record prices.

Chateau Pontet-Canet was no exception, the 2009 for example came out at a 64% premium to the 2008. Released at under £1,000 per dozen, however, the wine was a tenth of the price of a First Growth that year and the 2009 had received 100-points from Robert Parker as well.

While many of the First Growths have drifted since their release, these two Pontet-Canets – both with 100-point Parker scores – have delivered very consistent performances.

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé 2006 saw significant activity. The wine has proved to be the most sought-after rosé Champagne in 2021 so far, leading trade by both value and volume. Cristal Rosé 2012 has also seen strong demand.

Realm Cellars found its way on to the secondary market in 2017 and has seen increased trade ever since. The Bard has been the winery’s most actively traded wine followed by its Napa Valley Moonracer label and the Oakville Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

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