Investment Tips - Burgundy - 21. October 2022

Invest In Richebourg From Vosne-Romanée Legend That Seems To Rise Once Again

This little forgotten star's Richebourg has yielded +12.9% a year for the past five years - but new forces could make Gros Frére et Soeur even more popular.

Burgundy has seen an almost daily increase in demand. This is true for Village wines, Premier Crus and Grand Crus. The latter is the focus of this investment tip, which also examines the impact of climate change on future Burgundy production.

2020 Gros Frére et Soeur Richebourg is on the agenda. This is the tale of a domain that is on its way to recapturing the grandeur of yesteryear, offering the investor an additional potential upside in the already validated potential. This is the story of great returns. The story of ever-decreasing yields and ever-increasing demand in Burgundy. You do the math. Read more about the potential below.

Gros Frére Et Soeur - Significant In Vosne-Romanée, The Arena Of The World's Finest Wines

For many, Gros Frére et Soeur needs no introduction at all, as they are one of the most famous domains in Vosne-Romanée - or at least they were.

Indeed, the Gros family have been making their significant wine in Vosne-Romanée since the early 1800s. And although today there are several separate Gros domains, they were born and raised in the same place. In 1930, Domaine Louis Gros was founded, and when Louis Gros died in 1951, his four children (François, Jean, Gustave, and Colette) carried on the domain, although in 1963 they chose to split the inheritance.

The split meant that François and Jean each started their own domain, while Gustave and Colette united their inheritance and started Domaine Gros Frére et Soeur, which is the main subject of this investment tip. Gustave died in 1984, after which his nephew Bernard took over the domain. He replanted the vineyards and increased the vineyards by a total of 12 hectares.

Today, Bernard runs Gros Frére et Soeur with his son Vincent, and they own 19 hectares in Vosne-Romanée, which includes Grand Cru holdings at spectacular Richebourg, Echezeaux and Grands Echezeaux, as well as the iconic Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Furthermore, they produce outstanding wines on premier cru and village appellations, that include Vosne-Romanée Les Chaumes, Vosne-Romanée 1er cru, Bourgogne Hautes Cötes de Nuits Rouge and Blanc.

2020 Gros Frére et Soeur Richebourg 2020 Gros Frére et Soeur Richebourg

New Winds At Gros Frére Et Soeur

Although Gros Frére et Soeur resonates for many with familiarity and prominence in the Burgundian streets, according to Steen Öhman of Winehog*, the domain has lost some ground over the past 30 years. They are still prominent, although according to him they no longer dance the victory dance among the elite.   

Öhman describes several reasons for the loss of ground, but a key factor he attributes to the unpredictability of customer preferences, style and taste. So while this 2020 Gros Frére et Sour Richebourg is on par quality-wise with the past 10 vintages, there is still something going on at the domain.

Burgundy expert Burghound is the only one of RareWine's frequent wine reviewers to have continuously tasted and rated Gros Frére et Sour Richebourg over the past two decades. And he awards the 2020 vintage a barrel score of 91-94 points. This range puts the 2020 vintage in line with previous vintages and thus testifies that Gros Frére et Soeur can perform at a stable level, regardless of vintage. 

Yet, according to Öhman, something is going on. Stylistically, the wines have changed around 2018, when Vincent made more modern changes in the production. The amount of new barrel has been reduced, and in the 2020 vintage it has been omitted altogether. The point is: There has been an exciting stylistic shift at Gros Frére et Soeur, in a direction that should increasingly please the modern Burgundy lover. The world around the domain has changed, and it seems that it is now responding to this - and it may be the way back to the glory days of yore!

*Danish Burgundy specialist with more than 40 years of wine experience and impressive Burgundy insights

Returns Despite Postulated Terrain Loss: What Does It Mean?

Even if Winehog's postulation about Gros Frére et Soeur losing ground is true, there is some evidence to suggest that there is still a steady and loyal customer base.

Whether they are followers of Gros or fans of Richebourg is difficult to determine, but with the many options at Richebourg, the choice of Gros cannot have been entirely coincidental. Nevertheless, Gros Richebourg has delivered handsome returns in recent years. Indeed, over the past five years, according to Liv-ex, wine from this vineyard has produced an average annual return of almost 12.9%*.

Add to this the fact that three recent vintages of Gros Frére et Soeur Richebourg under the management of RareWine Invest have produced the following returns in a short period of time:

VintageBurghound scoresReturnsTime Period
2019 Gros Frére et Soeur Richebourg9352%15 months
2018 Gros Frére et Soeur Richebourg9328%6 months
2016 Gros Frére et Soeur Richebourg9354%15 months

From the above, one thing is certain. The demand is there. And in this perspective, it is very interesting to ask what will happen when the market finds out in earnest that there has been a stylistic shift at Gros Frére et Soeur, and the 2020 vintage is the new Gros Richebourg? Vincent comes with new forces, clearly striving for a more modern style and taste that caters to today's preferences.

Domaine Gros Frére et Soeur stands on solid foundations with a determination to rise to the heights of yesteryear.

*2006-2015 - the last 10 vintages that have been on the market for at least five years.



The Future Of Burgundy Is Expected To Be Marked By Great Fluctuations

Gros Frére et Soeur has a 0.7 hectare parcel at Richebourg, yielding between 2,300-3,250 bottles per vintage. This in itself is an extremely limited production. Add to this the fact that the market has seen significantly less Burgundy wine than usual in recent years. At the same time, demand for Burgundy's best seems only to be increasing.

Unfortunately, it seems that this shortage will be hard to compensate in the future. Climate change is bringing ever more extreme weather, and this will obviously affect wine production - in Burgundy too.

According to the UK wine exchange Liv-ex, recent vintages in Burgundy have seen smaller and smaller yields, and the 2021 vintage has seen the lowest yield since 1981, due to an unexpected spring frost in Burgundy.

This trend is alarming and has prompted action from the BIVB (the trade association that represents, defends and promotes wines from the Burgundy region). As a result, they have decided to increase the budget for Research and Development (R&D) over the next three years. This means they are increasing the budget from €1 million to €3 million by 2025. This is to improve rootstocks, research varieties and optimise the way growers work.

The spring frost has been a wake up call and producers are obviously not just accepting their fate. However, it is questionable how much €3 million will mean, even if it is a tripling of the budget. Even if the code is cracked and the challenges solved, we are likely to see large variations in production for many years to come - and with more extreme weather in sight - mostly to the downside.

RareWine Invest's Opinion

Richebourg is the domain of the prominent winemakers and there is no doubt that Gros Frére et Soeur has a right to play here. Burghound is one of the few to have tasted and assessed most vintages, something very few are privileged to do. His verdict is that Gros Frére et Soeur is still significant in Vosne-Romanée.

Therefore, it will be extremely interesting to follow the evolution of the stylistic shift and the will to re-emerge in the big spotlight of Vosne-Romanée.

The returns show that there is already a loyal audience for Gros Frére et Soeurs Richebourg. And the high short-term returns may be an indication that the revival of yesteryear's glory days has begun, so this is your opportunity to invest in a new, young vintage - and the first in its class with the new style.

However, efforts are being made to safeguard the future of Burgundy against climate change. But is it enough? Lower yields and rising demand certainly mean that Burgundy's best will be in short supply. Burgundy's second best. And Burgundy's third best. Here we are at the top, and this is your opportunity to secure a position.

Invest in 2020 Gros Frére et Soeur Richebourg

Contact us via the contact form at the bottom of the page if you want to know more about your investment options or order the wines directly through the form.

2020Gros Frére et Soeur Richebourg750OC6€ 725
*All prices are in EUR ex. customs duty, tax, and VAT for delivery to a bonded warehouse. Prices including customs duty, tax and VAT can be sent on request. The wines are only sold in whole cases unless otherwise specified and the price is per bottle. Minimum order size € 2,500. Assumes a total minimum investment of € 10,000. Prices may have changed since release of this article. Reservations are made for errors.

Get in touch with RareWine Invest

Fill in the form and we will get back to you as soon as possible