Investors looking to move away from paper assets to something more tangible should consider fine wine, a specialist told CNBC on Wednesday, arguing that rare bottles have seen a steady rise in prices.
With equity markets apparently improving, there is a risk of investors moving away from wine, but Peter Shakeshaft, the founder of Vin-X Limited, a UK-based fine wine investment company, doesn't see that happening.
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"Wine prices are moving up. We've averaged over the last 20 years 14.9 percent growth year-on-year so that's pretty exciting."
"Eleven percent [growth] over the course of the last 50 years, 14 percent over the last 20 years, I don't see the fluctuations there in regards to the stock market," he told CNBC.
His comments come after the latest scores from one of the world's most influential wine critics. Robert Parker awarded vintage 2010 Bordeaux from Pontet Canet the highest score of 100 points. The wine subsequently saw its price rise from 1,300 pounds ($ 1,966) to 1,600 pounds ($ 2,420).
Unlike gold, wine is an investment that naturally depreciates over time, as the wine reaches and passes its drinking age. Still, Shakeshaft said even as the wine depreciates, it becomes more sought-after and actually increases in value.
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For example, Shakeshaft pointed to Rotschild Lafite, one of the most expensive red wine producers. "There are only 13,000 cases made. If you think about a depreciating asset all the time, by the time it comes to 1982, an iconic year, there are so few cases left, it actually increases the value of it," Shakeshaft said.
The wine market has seen significant development worldwide as interest from buyers in China, Russia and India continues to increase. The growing globalization of the wine market has produced some stories that would horrify wine lovers and connoisseurs, such as Chinese buyers mixing highly sought-after vintages with Coca-Cola and other soft drinks.
Still, how buyers choose to drink the wine is often beside the point. "A lot of our clients don't really taste the wine, most of them buy it as an investment," Shakeshaft said.
Even some governments are getting into the wine-trading game. Reuters reported last week that Britain's government is looking to sell some 54 bottles of its hospitality cellar –wines served to visiting VIPs- at auction for the first time later this month.
The sale is part of an effort to make the government's wine cellar self-funding as part of a national austerity drive.
Even with luxuries such as fine wine falling out of favor with the public in austerity-stricken Europe, Shakeshaft thinks foreign buyers will bolster the market." I see [China], India, Brazil, we're very large in Russia, we've a lot of Vin-X clients in Russia now. The market is developing, it's developing world-wide so I can't see, at the moment, any downside. "