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Attention Glenn Beck: Wine Is Giving Gold a Run for Its Money

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A Reuters headline caught my attention a few minutes ago: "Like gold, top wines are highly prized, represent wealth and are selling near their historical highs."

"During times of economic stress and worry, buyers look to safe investments and gold is seen as a defensive strategy. It's tangible, has intrinsic value and is a good diversifier ... The same can be said for the top growth Bordeaux and for the same reasons," Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, an independent wine consultant, said.

And Robert Sleigh, Sotheby's vice president of wine, said that, "Asia continues to drive the prices in wine."

The Daily Feed spoke with Brian DiMarco, founder and president of The Barterhouse, a boutique New York City-based wine importer and private consultancy, about the Asian wine market.

"Having just gotten back from the big China and Hong Kong auctions, I saw the frenzy first-hand," he said. "Top names like Lafite Rothschild and Henri Jayer realized record prices at the Acker, Merrill, and Condit auction in Hong Kong."

DiMarco points out, however, that there are some signs of irrational exuberance in Asia's rush into fine wines.

"Right now, I've seen a lot of wines bought in Asia without any concern for provenance. Eventually, someone's going to have to drink these wines, and some of the 'trophy collectors' out there playing nothing more than a big arbitrage game could likely get stung. It won't be long until the Asian wine buyer gets savvier and provenance will start to play an increasingly larger role in their purchasing decisions."

DiMarco also sees "an opportunity coming up for some lesser-known labels to share the spotlight in the coming years; there's only so much Lafite and Romanee Conti to go around.", gold/wine? You damn sure can't drink gold. In a tight economy, I'll take the wine.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.