Monday, November 17, 2008

Even fine wines, white truffles dropping in price

The global economic slowdown has far-reaching implications. Your pension fund is probably dropping in value. You're likely worried about your job.
Your mutual funds? Dropping like a ton of bricks.
And now - in a sign of the uncertain times - even the prices of white truffles and costly red wines are falling.
At this year's charity truffle auction in Tokyo, the highest price paid for a single white 1.05kg truffle was US$30,720, a pittance compared to last year's record of $330,000 for a truffle that weighed 1.5kg, the Financial Times reported.
It's true, even the uber-rich are scaling back on luxuries. At the auction for this year's haul of Alba white truffles from Italy’s Piedmont region, the usual high-rollers and investment bankers were conspicuously missing from the crowd of celebrities and magnates.
According to the Times, this year's three simultaneous auctions raised euro 118,000 ($151,048) compared to about euro 417,952 ($535,000) last year.
Meanwhile, some of the best wines are also dropping in price. The BBC reports some fine wine prices have dropped by a quarter since the summer.
The price of the 2005 vintage of Bordeaux's famous Chateau Lafite Rothschild, for example, has seen a decline of about 25 per cent since the summer.
A case of 12 bottles that would have cost about US$15,720 a mere four months ago now sell for $11,790.
This may seem irrelevant to us regular folk, but maybe, just maybe, the prices of more-affordable wines will also drop as vineyards try to unload their stock.
This could also be strictly a temporary trend among the wealthy, who are hesitant to be publicly dropping wads of cash on culinary indulgences when the rest of the world is crying into their bank statements?

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