Investment in blue-chip wines from Bordeaux is still worthwhile, despite the recent dip in prices, says Jeannie Cho Lee, master of wine and founder of Asianpalate.com. Based on a comparison of the 10 most recent vintages of the five Bordeaux first-growth wines against 100 of the most sought-after fine wines over the past five years, she says that although prices have corrected to June 2010 levels, they are still double those of January 2007. Lee discussed fine wine investment and auction trends at the 'Timeless Treasures' event at Forfar, which was organised by Wing Tai Properties Development and SCMP Marketing Services. 'The Bordeaux first-growth wines have experienced higher price growth than other wines,' she says. 'The recent year-to-date price movements confirm a trend towards price correction as a reaction to extremely high pricing of Bordeaux en primeur over the past two years and their subsequent boosting of prices from bottled vintages.' In 2009 and last year, some of the most expensive young Bordeaux were released as wine futures - or en primeur, which means the wine is still in barrels and will be bottled in about three years - making it the most investment-worthy vehicle for a lot of fine wine investors. 'The current price of first growth is over Euro1,000 (HK$10,684) a bottle which has broken records,' Lee says. 'That's why a price correction is inevitable because there was a bubble.' Part of what makes a wine futures work is that when an individual buys it, it should be cheaper than when he sells to realise a return on investment. If he starts out with Euro1,000 per bottle, it is likely the investment he has tied up for three years will turn into nothing if the economic conditions become unfavourable, Lee notes. Fine wine investors should go for left bank M?doc wines, she says. Burgundy is the area to look at if investors consider branching out to other regions and styles. Meanwhile, wines from Beychevelle, Duhart-Milon and Grand-Puy-Lacoste, are still considered bargains. 'Their prices will continue to go up,' she says. 'Outside France, Italy and the United States are the top countries for iconic wines with strong secondary market trading records.' With the wine auction market softening, early next year may be the time to pick up some bargains. If buyers in Asia make purchases from auction houses in New York or London via fax or telephone bidding, they are likely to save 20 and 50 per cent. 'However, they need to factor in the costs of shipping, transport and handling,' Lee says. 'One last word about wine investment,' she notes. 'If the price does not go up, you can always drink it.'