Prices of finest plonk on the benchmark wine index could trickle higher this year as investors plough their money into physical assets, according to a wine investment fund.
Publishing its forecast for 2013, The Wine Investment Fund predicted that the main wine index - the Liv-ex 100 - will end this year 14pc above where it finished 2012.
The Liv-ex index is a marketplace for professional buyers and sellers of fine wine, with the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 representing the price movement of 100 of the most sought-after fine wines.
Its members, including merchants, brokers, retailers and wine funds, account for the vast majority of global fine wine turnover.
The bulk of the index consists of Bordeaux wines, although wines from the Burgundy, the Rhone, Champagne and Italy are also included.
Compilers of the Liv-ex index said the market had been driven down by the eurozone crisis , sluggish Asian demand and a weak British economy .
But during the second half of the year, the market did stabilise, with a number of wines posting strong performances. For example, the release of new vintages for Taittinger, Dom Perignon and Cristal saw Champagne’s average share of exchange turnover more than double in 2012.
“Although this was a difficult year for the fine wine market, the Liv-ex indices have finished 2012 on a positive note," said Liv-ex director James Miles.
"Since the lows of July, the value of bids on the Exchange has increased threefold, suggesting a return of confidence.”
Looking ahead to this year, The Wine Investment Fund said "conditions appear much brighter", with the second half of 2012 having shown some signs of recovery.
The fund added that the return of confidence towards the end of last year heralded the start of a recovery in wine prices and that this will be maintained throughout the new year.
Although the fund believes there is an 85pc chance this year will see price rises, it added that falls of up to 5pc are possible. "Falls of greater than this are likely only to result from a major disruption to the world economy which is not foreseen by mainstream economic forecasters," said the fund.
“In the longer term many investors are becoming nervous about the inflationary effects of the very loose monetary policies (low interest rates and the printing of money, known as 'quantitative easing') being pursued around the world," added Andrew della Casa, director of The Wine Investment Fund.
"Like gold, wine is a physical asset which is immune to inflation and its value cannot be eroded by the actions of governments. It is therefore likely to attract attention when inflation fears rise. In the years to come, there is also the prospect of new sources of demand from markets such as India coming through."