High-performing passion investments need special insurance attention


In a year where global capital markets are extremely volatile and at times in freefall, one alternative asset class is having a stellar year.

In much the same way that the consumer price index monitors inflation using a typical basket of goods, the LIV EX index reports on fine wine prices using a basket of recent vintages and exceptional older vintages that are considered to be bellwethers for trading across the market.

According to LIV EX fine wine market data, as of 31/10, one year returns are currently 22.28%, with reported five year returns of 45.81% (2017-2022, January to January).1 This is outperforming many other asset classes, for a few reasons.

Wine is seen as a viable hedge for high net worth individuals in times of inflation as it is largely immune from the volatility in the equities markets and dips in the bond and gold markets. Due to all this, the investment-grade fine wine market has attracted an influx of investors from all over the world, particularly Asia.2

Globalisation, through digital platforms such as Bordeaux Index and CultX, alongside the emergence of blockchain providing a rock-solid, indelible proof of ownership, has greatly enhanced the liquidity of the market, and thus, the potential of fine wine as an asset class.

The most expensive regular-sized bottle of wine sold at auction was a Romanée-Conti 1945, a ‘unicorn vintage’ burgundy that fetched $558,000 USD at Sotherby’s New York in 20182.  Whisky can sell for even more. The most expensive bottle of Scotch ever sold, a 60-year-old Macallan, fetched $1.9m USD in Sotherby’s London in 2019.4

The average Irish wine collector might not have any such record-breakers in their cellar but with the market on an upward trend, it could be time to think about a valuation for insurance purposes. Especially if the client is currently on a standard market policy.

Standard market policies may have an upper limit for wine collections, sometimes as low as €5000, so it is important to check their terms and conditions with values on the rise. [MS2] 

DUAL policies come with €25,000 coverage for wine collections as standard. We offer competitive rates and for larger collections above €25k, zero excess. Both of DUAL’s household insurance offerings, Private Client and Aqua, have a built-in buffer for asset value appreciation. Our claims can pay up to 150% of the insured value, if the market has moved in that direction, as long as a valuation has taken place within the last three years.

We have a great deal of experience insuring wine collections. Our policies do not contain the same exclusions that some standard market policies do, such as excluding damage from temperature or humidity changes, or damage from cork fly.

As with all collectibles as an investment strategy, we only recommend people get involved if they truly understand the market. Much of the potential for returns comes from in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and proclivities of the asset class. If you do not have the requisite passion and expertise, and investment returns are your main priority, we suggest that you speak to an experienced, reputable wine broker before embarking on acquiring any wines. They will be able to help you understand how to buy and keep wine to maximise your potential for returns. Afterwards, speak to us, to protect your valuable assets.

If you or your clients do have a significant wine collection, that needs comprehensive protection, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Sláinte!


  1. https://www.liv-ex.com/news-insights/indices/liv-ex-fine-wine-1000-indices/
  2. https://www.cityam.com/investors-reach-for-the-bottle-as-inflation-soars/
  3. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-15/most-expensive-bottle-wine-1945-romanee-conti-burgundy-auction?_ga=2.130625097.798846036.1668196547-1710511409.1668196547#xj4y7vzkg
  4. https://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2019/10/macallan-1926-breaks-auction-record-at-1-5m/