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Thirsty? Fine wine funds growing again after weak vintages

Some wine investment funds have taken a hit in recent years as top-tier Burgundies and Bordeaux have slid down in value but wine funds aimed at middle-tier labels are raising a glass to the rosy returns on their investments and continue to attract investors.

As an investment strategy though, investing in wine is not for the faint of heart.

Wine funds began grabbing headlines in around 2009 as prices of the most sought-after labels began to spike in value. Pricing data tracked by shows the top 100 labels gained 75% from the start of that year through mid-2011. Since then, prices have fallen, dropping by 25% through August.

Despite the slump, funds focusing on wines that are a few rungs down the top-label ladder remain confident about the earnings they are generating for investors.

“In wine, what happens in downturns is that the big names fall the hardest,” said Brian Mota, co-founder of TWT Investment Partners LP. “We like to be positioned in names that are not the tip of the iceberg.

”The Oracle Paradis Wine Fund was launched six months ago in the United Kingdom, according to director David Nathan-Maister. This month, the fund announced it had purchased one of the oldest bottles of white wines from the Jura vineyards in France, a 1781 Chateau Chalon valued at about $50,000.

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