What's everyone drinking? Australia's most popular wines revealed
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What’s everyone drinking? Australia’s most popular wines revealed

Want to impress your guests this New Year’s Eve? Pick a top 50 wine so that the best wine is the one you share with friends

By Robyn Willis
Sat, Dec 23, 2023 7:00amGrey Clock 3 min

Australians love a good drop, especially at this time of year — and especially when it’s home grown. According to government statutory corporation, Wine Australia, there are more than 2150 wineries across 65 winegrowing regions around the country, representing about 6000 grapegrowers.

Just in time for the new year, wine storage provider, Wine Ark, has released its most collected wines of 2023

Shiraz was the most collected variety, followed by Chardonnay, but for single wines, Penfolds Grange topped the list. 

Keeper of Bottles at Wine Ark, John Cuff, said the Penfolds Grange was a hard wine to topple from the top spot.

“This is the second edition in a row that sees Penfolds Grange be the most collected wine in Australia, which is also one of the country’s most expensive wines, again emphasising the importance of this iconic wine to Australian wine collectors,” he said.

Penfolds Grange also represented reliability for collectors, he said, both in terms of drinkability — and investment.

“In relation to investment, I would say that historically Penfolds wines have held their value very well,” Mr Cuff said. “When they approach their drinking window, if you were to look to exit the wine, then yes, you could make some money on it.” 

While many of the wines in the top 10 such as Wynns Coonawarra Estate and the Leeuwin Estate Art Series would be familiar to wine lovers, Mr Cuff said lesser known cooler climate wines including Mount Mary, Tolpuddle and Crawford River were gaining ground. The Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay gained 66 places to break into the top 50 while Crawford River Riesling rose 59 places.

John Cuff and the top 10 wines

Mr Cuff said while warmer climate wines would remain popular, especially among those starting their wine collecting journey, more people are beginning to appreciate the merits of cooler climate wines.  

“When people start their collecting journey traditionally they are either guided towards, or believe they should start with, the more popular regions such as the Barossa valley,” he said. “We all know that wines from the Barossa are brilliant and provide people with a glass of forward, flavoursome, rich wine that appeals to new wine buyers and collectors alike. 

“Wines from cooler climates have a lovely angular acid line, elegant tannins and, traditionally, have lower alcohol than warmer climate wines. They also match our current food styles and climate very well. 

“In saying that I do love a big steak and glass of heavy red!”

Given more than half of Australia’s wineries are based in South Australia, it’s perhaps no surprise to learn wines from the state are also the most popular with collectors. The Barossa Valley was the most popular by region, followed by the Hunter Valley in NSW.

Wine Ark Tasting Room. John Cuff recommends to buy what you enjoy drinking, even if it’s for investment.

For those looking to restock their cellar or start collecting in 2024, Mr Cuff’s advice is simple: collect what you enjoy drinking.

“There is no use buying Coonawarra Cabernet for an investment if you don’t like Cabernet,” he said. “Worse case, if you can’t sell it, you can drink it.”

His tips for good Australian tipples include Margaret River Cabernet and Chardonnay, Yarra Valley Cabernet, Tasmanian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, single vineyard McLaren Vale Grenache and Shiraz from the “new” Barossa.

Here’s cheers.



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New York Watch Auctions Record Uptick in Sales in the Face of Market Slowdown
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Luxury watch collectors showed ongoing strong demand for Patek Philippe, growing interest in modern watches and a preference for larger case sizes and leather straps at the June watch sales in New York, according to an analysis of the major auctions.

Independent and neo-vintage categories, meanwhile, experienced declines in total sales and average prices, said the report from  EveryWatch, a global online platform for watch information. Overall, the New York auctions achieved total sales of US$52.27 million, a 9.87% increase from the previous year, on the sale of 470 lots, reflecting a 37% increase in volume. Unsold rates ticked down a few points to 5.31%, according to the platform’s analysis.

EveryWatch gathered data from official auction results for sales held in New York from June 5 to 10 at Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s. Limited to watch sales exclusively, each auction’s data was reviewed and compiled for several categories, including total lots, sales and sold rates, highest prices achieved, performance against estimates, sales trends in case materials and sizes as well as dial colors, and more. The resulting analysis provides a detailed overview of market trends and performance.

The Charles Frodsham Pocket watch sold at Phillips for $433,400.

“We still see a strong thirst for rare, interesting, and exceptional watches, modern and vintage alike, despite a little slow down in the market overall,” says Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of the California-based pre-owned online watch dealer BobsWatches.com, in an email. “The results show that there is still a lot of money floating around out there in the economy looking for quality assets.”

Patek Philippe came out on top with more than US$17.68 million on the sale of 122 lots. It also claimed the top lot: Sylvester Stallone’s Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime 6300G-010, still in the sealed factory packaging, which sold at Sotheby’s for US$5.4 million, much to the dismay of the brand’s president, Thierry Stern . The London-based industry news website WatchPro estimates the flip made the actor as much as US$2 million in just a few years.

At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire
Richard Mille

“As we have seen before and again in the recent Sotheby’s sale, provenance can really drive prices higher than market value with regards to the Sylvester Stallone Panerai watches and his standard Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1a offered,” Altieri says.

Patek Philippe claimed half of the top 10 lots, while Rolex and Richard Mille claimed two each, and Philippe Dufour claimed the No. 3 slot with a 1999 Duality, which sold at Phillips for about US$2.1 million.

“In-line with EveryWatch’s observation of the market’s strong preference for strap watches, the top lot of our auction was a Philippe Dufour Duality,” says Paul Boutros, Phillips’ deputy chairman and head of watches, Americas, in an email. “The only known example with two dials and hand sets, and presented on a leather strap, it achieved a result of over US$2 million—well above its high estimate of US$1.6 million.”

In all, four watches surpassed the US$1 million mark, down from seven in 2023. At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire, the most expensive watch sold at Christie’s in New York. That sale also saw a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM52-01 CA-FQ Tourbillon Skull Model go for US$1.26 million to an online buyer.

Rolex expert Altieri was surprised one of the brand’s timepieces did not crack the US$1 million threshold but notes that a rare Rolex Daytona 6239 in yellow gold with a “Paul Newman John Player Special” dial came close at US$952,500 in the Phillips sale.

The Crown did rank second in terms of brand clout, achieving sales of US$8.95 million with 110 lots. However, both Patek Philippe and Rolex experienced a sales decline by 8.55% and 2.46%, respectively. The independent brand Richard Mille, with US$6.71 million in sales, marked a 912% increase from the previous year with 15 lots, up from 5 lots in 2023.

The results underscored recent reports of prices falling on the secondary market for specific coveted models from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. The summary points out that five top models produced high sales but with a fall in average prices.

The Rolex Daytona topped the list with 42 appearances, averaging US$132,053, a 41% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, with two of the top five watches, made 26 appearances with an average price of US$111,198, a 26% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar followed with 23 appearances and a US$231,877 average price, signifying a fall of 43%, and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak had 22 appearances and an average price of US$105,673, a 10% decrease. The Rolex Day Date is the only watch in the top five that tracks an increase in average price, which at US$72,459 clocked a 92% increase over last year.

In terms of categories, modern watches (2005 and newer) led the market with US$30 million in total sales from 226 lots, representing a 53.54% increase in sales and a 3.78% increase in average sales price over 2023. Vintage watches (pre-1985) logged a modest 6.22% increase in total sales and an 89.89% increase in total lots to 169.

However, the average price was down across vintage, independent, and neo-vintage (1990-2005) watches. Independent brands saw sales fall 24.10% to US$8.47 million and average prices falling 42.17%, while neo-vintage watches experienced the largest decline in sales and lots, with total sales falling 44.7% to US$8.25 million, and average sales price falling 35.73% to US$111,000.

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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