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Investing in a good drink

By Dave Buchanan
There’s good money to be made in wine, if you don’t drink up the profits. That’s the word from Kevin Hassett on the Bloomberg News Web site. Hassett recently reported the finding of three University of Wyoming economists that says wine investments continue to have “unbelievably high returns.” One index, the London Vintners Exchange, or Liv-ex, which tracks investment-grade wines, said its portfolio of fine wines jumped 47 percent between Dec. 2006 and Sept. 2007, which is more than the increase in oil prices in the same period of time. One reason given for the continued rise in wine prices is the general worldwide escalation in income. Wine is a fixed commodity, and the rigors of supply and demand means the more people wanting wine, the higher the price will go. But don’t get too excited about hoarding that case of Yellow Tail shiraz. The best returns, according to Bloomberg contributing writer Elin McCoy, are the top-tier red Bordeaux from the best vintages, including 1982, ‘86, ‘89, ‘90, ‘96 and 2000. The availability of those wines, and of more recently made highly thought-of vintages, won’t change much because the vineyards can’t produce more. The wines also have good track records, are made in sufficient quantities to be traded and, perhaps most important of all, have received high marks from wine critic Robert Parker. If you’re tempted to dabble in dealing fine wines, you need to plan on investing at least $10,000, McCoy said. Here are some of the better investments, according to Liv-ex. Prices are for 12-bottle cases: 2000 Chateau Ansone, $24,850; 1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild $15,669; 1982 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, $14,429; 1986 Chateau Lafite Rothschild $13,176; 1996 Chateau Latour $10,379.