Case Study - Mr Accumulator aka “I’m never going to drink all this''

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-05-06


Luke MacWilliam, May 2021

Wine Owners attracts new clients for a whole number of reasons, we cater to a wide range of wine collecting related needs. One of the more frequent approaches we receive is from “Mr Accumulator”, the man with too much wine.

Mr Accumulator started out collecting in his 30’s, a passion for the delicious combined with a well paid career and a good relationship with his local or national merchant who delighted in sending their EP brochures and inviting him to tasting, and he took great delight in returning his order forms (remember those?).

30 years down the line and his collection is primo. 2,982 bottles at the last count, an awful lot of stuff he used to enjoy but as he has matured so have his tastes have changed too. No longer is he knocking back bottles of Claret 3 or 4 times a week, now he enjoys the finest Barolo and Burgundy at the weekend or when out for dinner, perhaps Champagne if the mood dictates.

He calls me up “Luke, My wife and I don’t drink as much as we used to, and when we do it’s usually X Y or Z, we don’t tend to go for the blockbuster wines I used to love so much - I just can’t see us drinking a large portion of the collection. We’d much rather sell 60% of it, use the profits to buy more of the wines we do want to drink (have you got any 2007 Sandrone by the way, Le Vigne, I only got 1 case at allocation), and put the rest towards the grandchildren, 4th one is on its way...”

A conversation ensues and he decides to take out a Wine Owners Collector subscription. He sends us his Octavian and LCB holdings, which we load up into his Wine Owners account. We have a bit of back and forth discussing his collection and we agree on around 100 cases he’d rather see the back of. Using a direct feed of live market prices from Wine Searcher he sets his offers a fraction below (to make sure this is the best offer out there), and away he goes. Having fun with his collection that had begun to become a nagging drain in the back of his mind, and his bank balance when it’s storage fees time.

Fast forward 12 months of selling at 4% + vat and he has pocketed £35k. That half case case of Mouton 1982 was a bit of a naughty purchase, granted, but it’s bucket list wine and he has no regrets.

Ring ring “Hello Wine Owners” “Hi there, I’ve just got into collecting wine and I’ve been really enjoying Syrahs from Northern Rhone - I’ve bought a few recent vintages EP, but I really want to get more stuff that I can enjoy now and someone mentioned your site is good for finding back vintages”. “Funny you should say that sir...I happen to know that a client is about to offer a load of Rhones at good prices, keep your eyes peeled, we can send you alerts if you fill in your wine preferences too”

See how this works?


Buying Duty Paid wine

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-05-05


You may have noticed that we have hundreds of wines listed for sale DP on the exchange. Here are some of the most common questions we receive around buying Duty Paid wine.


What does Duty Paid (DP) mean and what is the benefit of buying DP?


Merchants or brokers selling wine on behalf of clients must apply 20% VAT on every sale, regardless of whether or not the wine has already had VAT and Duty paid by the previous owner.


This does not apply to private individuals (other collectors like you) who sell via the trading exchange. The only VAT applicable on Duty Paid wine purchases is on our commission and the delivery charge.


Buyers and sellers both benefit from this setup, with more of the sale proceeds pocketed by a seller and 20%+ lower all-in purchase prices for the buyer. By connecting private sellers to private buyers, everyone wins.


All Duty Paid wines offered for sale are held in professional warehouses, so inspections can be carried out if required and the majority have either been stored professionally since first purchased, or come from good quality home cellars of impassioned collectors. Remember, if you request an inspection report and you don’t like the inspection photos we send to you, we cancel the trade and refund your inspection fee.


How to buy Duty Paid on the Wine Owners peer-to-peer trading exchange?


To see hundreds of Duty Paid offers, click the orange “Duty Paid” button shown below on the Fine Wine Exchange.


As ever, if you have any questions, please get in touch with us and we'll be happy to help! 


Team WO 


Market update and news 1st Quarter 2021

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-04-14


Miles Davis, April 2021

The first quarter of 2021 has flown by with the wine market in fine form. There is a firm feeling of robustness about the secondary market and any prices that have been marked down only came about for the sake of expediency. Most of the indices are up with the WO 150 leading the way, up nearly 1 per cent on the month and more than 3% on the year so far. At the risk of sounding repetitive, what I like about it is the un-gung-ho nature of it, it is little by little – as it is supposed to be!

Our Italian indices have retreated a little, which is a surprise as trade in Piedmont and Tuscany has been better than ever and this maybe down to some older stock prices being marked down. Other people’s Italian indices are positive. The often-overlooked Rhone has been busy too, particularly Hermitage, both reds and whites, with bottles sailing off our proverbial shelves. There is no shortage of fizz in the Champagne market either with volume trades of Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne and Dom Perignon popping up amidst the sea of six packs.      


Wine Owners


White Burgundy has been flying out the door with two names mentioned in my previous report featuring prominently, Leflaive and Henri Boillot. Anything Premier or Grand Cru status with the word ‘Montrachet’ in there somewhere sells well, if priced sensibly. Comtes Lafon and Fontaine Gagnard also deserve a mention. Red Burgundy travels sweetly and also sells well, again if priced sensibly! Although still languishing in terms of overall market share, Bordeaux prices are firm with a gently positive persuasion. 

The release of Burgundy 2019, in the main, has come and gone and was well received. The reports from the critics were very good and although only a tiny percentage of punters actually tasted any of the wines this year they sold very well indeed. Too well for one seasoned client of ours who has now given up the fight (for allocations) and moved onto more peaceful pastures, and who knows, perhaps more profitable? 

Covid seems to have been good for en primeur merchants; no time-consuming events, with or without the private clients, and plenty of sales – simples! I recall tasting Bordeaux 2018 en primeur and, as a generalisation, found them too big, powerful and in many cases overly alcoholic for me. Two years on, the wines in bottle are getting some high scores. I am guessing, but perhaps critics are tasting and scoring in the context of a hotter, modern era. Either way, these wines are products of climate change and I wonder how they may develop in bottle. I expect rather well once fully mature, for those who are able to wait that long. I recently enjoyed a zoom tasting of Pichon Comtesse ’89 which for me was old fashioned, elegant Bordeaux personified but for someone else a wine that needed drinking up immediately. ‘Horses for races’ as an esteemed colleague once commented.

The bid to offer ratio on the platform has been interesting of late. For years Wine Owners has had a far greater supply than it has had demand. That is the case as I write but so far this year bids have outweighed supply by a multiple of roughly 1.5. We have more buyers, in terms of pure numbers but also in terms of better-quality buyers than ever before. Settlement is slicker and quicker, and we are enjoying more repeat business.

Whilst on the subject of Wine Owners, we have moved into a lovely new office in Bleeding Heart Yard, not far from the old office, but much closer to the Bleeding Heart Bistro and other nice venues.  Who is up for the WOBHLL (Wine Owners Bleeding Heart (easing of) Lockdown Lunch or other such heart attack inducing enticements?? 

And finally, in other news, the US has called a temporary ceasefire on tariffs on European wines, that may become permanent. This is positive for the market as a whole and we welcome the news. At the same time but not related, we are seeing a new wave of wine investors coming from the States and this is exciting. 

As always, please ask questions and feel free to disagree. 

All the best,

Miles


Read around, inform your choices, act decisively

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-03-24


Luke MacWilliam, March 2021

When buying wine with half (or even a full) eye on investment, there is a sea of information and misinformation out there. Often authors have an agenda or a producer to push, they want you to buy the wine they are selling. I recently had a call from an importer who was telling me how “Producer X” (that they imported) is going to be a great investment wine and would we want to promote that “fact” to our members. The lines between marketing, and genuine insight and opinion can become blurred.

I politely declined, explaining that Wine Owners is here to facilitate trading between collectors and that when we do publish opinions regarding the investment market, it is based on a combination of data, observations and personal experience.

How you then choose to use this information is up to you; my number one piece of advice is to read broadly. Do not exclusively read what we put out or content from other trade members and don't solely listen to your account manager who has a target to hit. Combine all three and when you see things repeated by people with different agendas (or no agenda) there may just be something to it.

For example, back in January, Wine Owners’ very own Miles Davis wrote the following unassuming paragraph in his annual investment report.

“The Rhone is solid but unexciting yet provides immense drinking pleasure at a relatively cheap price point. Back on solid form, I think (Jaboulet) Hermitage La Chapelle ’09 and ’10s are under-priced (the ’78 remains the best wine I have ever drunk).” Miles Davis/Wine Owners 2020 Wine Investment Report and a look ahead at 2021

Totally independently, Bordeaux Index released their own report with a similarly passive but very honest insight on Rhone:

“Rhone: If Piedmont can be frustrating from the stop-start nature of investment potential delivering results, Rhone is perhaps tougher still. Rising En Primeur prices have not helped as they tend to snuff out broader interest in the region rather than fan the flames. We see the potential this year as being in the Northern Rhone primarily and focused more on the classical names: Guigal, Chave, Jaboulet.” Bordeaux Index’s 2020 Market Review & 2021 Outlook

Two unassuming and easily overlooked comments resonated with me. I read both within a few days and I love the wines of Northern Rhone as a consumer. I checked out the trading platform, there was an offer for Jaboulet Hermitage 2010, and a bid, that's another tick in the box, the wine is liquid, others want it too.

Then, as I was cleaning up my inbox I spotted the offer. A regular offer from a trade client that I often overlook, but there it was, jumping out at me like a jack-in-a-box. Jaboulet Hermitage 2010 at 10% discount to market.

That was it, I was not missing out on this, and I didn’t (Miles might have, despite me telling him immediately…sorry Miles!).

It’s unlikely that I would have bought this as a modest investment punt based on just a single one of those events. I might have bought some to drink based on Miles’ comment about the ‘78 and other reviews, but all 3 events together added up and it made sense. I have no regrets (except maybe I should have bought more!). Previously trading at just over £600 per 6 the last trade on Wine Owners was £715, and that still feels like a good buy... I’ll be holding mine for a little while longer (unless Miles bids me for one!).


How can cellar management software help you unlock your collection?

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-03-17


For just a moment, imagine no longer having to depend on a tedious cellar spreadsheet and instead being able to view your entire wine collection all in one place in an interactive way, bringing your portfolio to life?

Spreadsheets can be dull and relentless at the best of times. By consolidating piles of paper, spreadsheets, emails and invoices all into a well organised online portfolio, you can pull other valuable pieces of information together that lend a new dimension of enjoyment to organising your collection. Contrary to what you may think, managing your collection end to end, ensuring that all your wine acquisitions are accounted for, can be a fun process!

Cellar management software enables you to achieve this in 3 steps:

Step 1) Getting your collection organised.

Figuring out what wine you have may sound simple but it often isn’t. Wines are sourced from multiple merchants and stored in numerous locations. Although the majority of merchants are organised, not all can be relied on to remind you of your purchases.

An online cellar management platform enables you to track your entire wine collection in one place, both your professionally stored wines and those at home. Wine Owners’ home cellar functionality enables you to track the exact location of each bottle down to hole in a bottle rack, so that no bottle will be forgotten and ensures wines will be consumed within their drinking window (a window that you can edit according to taste).


Wine Owners - Organising-my-collection


Having been built by a fellow wine enthusiast, all functionality has been developed taking every part of the wine journey into consideration. All important information can be recorded: the wine name, vintage, format, where it was bought, purchase price, condition, quantity or a shipment date if it is incoming stock.

When you join, you have instant access to a pool of valuable information including drinking dates, critic stores, producer profiles and up to date pricing information and more, enough to keep any wine collector happy. Optimised for mobile and tablet access, you can access your collection wherever you are, whether on public transport, at work or abroad.

2) Rediscovering your collection.

Now that you have catalogued your portfolio and you know what you have and where it is, Wine Owners can help you make well-informed decisions around a) which wines to drink next and b) what you have too much of thanks to overzealous purchasing or a very good relationship with your account manager!

Lots of fun is to be had exploring the integrated analytical tools which include sophisticated pricing graphs and relative value score analysis. You can also review your portfolio by a range of filters, view values per category, total value and category performance over different periods of time. Latest perspectives of the critics are also helpful to appreciate the quality of the wines you have bought, and you can add your own tasting notes as well.

Wine Owners - Percentage breakdown per country


3) Shaping your collection.

Once you’re clear on your inventory, it’s time to take key decisions around your collection. You may wish to sell surplus stock back to the merchant who initially sold you the wine or, if they refuse, you’re only a few clicks from being able to offer your wine for sale in a vibrant secondary market, with trading desk experts available to help.

An easy to navigate, comprehensive digital overview makes it a lot easier to make decisions around which wines in your collection you’ll want to keep and the ones that are ballast. You’ll also be less likely to miss a drinking window. As a wine collector, the satisfaction of enjoying that glass of wine that has appreciated 10-fold since the date of purchase cannot be understated!

For those members who want to buy and sell, it’s super simple.

As it is integrated with a peer-to-peer trading exchange, you are joining a vibrant ecosystem of like-minded collectors as soon as you upload your collection.

In addition, by making purchases through the platform, every part of the settlement process is looked after by our logistics team.

If you are ready to upgrade your cellar management experience, we’re here to help. You can start by creating a free account HERE to organise, value and monitor price changes on up to 30 wines. If you have over 30 wines, our premium plans offer all the tools you will ever need to easily and successfully manage your collection.



Fine Wine Investment Report 2020 and a look ahead at 2021

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2021-03-04


Miles Davis, March 2021

In early December I wrote the following:

‘Traditional assets continue to bounce around, no doubt causing palpitations and stress. More than ever, this year has been about timing in the capital markets, and if you got that wrong, the chances are you got it expensively wrong. Not so for vino! Unlike after the global financial crisis, the wine market has held its nerve, merchants did not mark down prices and the market has been stable. Investors are about, and even Bordeaux prices feel like they are firming up. Collectible assets are in vogue and it is easy to see why given these circumstances.’

Not too much has changed since then although there has been plenty more talk about inflation, with the UK’s November numbers coming through much higher than anticipated. This can be viewed as a positive. There has also been the small matter of a new American President. This, in itself, should not have a direct influence on the wine market (!?) but a $1.9 trillion stimulus package and a clear signal that money is going to keep being pumped into the system might be!

So, the macro factors are looking stable and the index performances from last year are also looking sensible. There is no massive ‘feel good factor’ about, which often brings about a more boom-and-bust style dynamic, so this is beginning to feel like an old-fashioned wine market, steady as she goes, nice little earner, thanks very much.

Bordeaux First Growths continue to be the fly in the ointment, underperforming all the other regions with +2.8%, save California with -2%, and generally Bordeaux’s market share continues to slide and is now less than 40% (95% ten years ago!). Pricing from a few of the Chateaux meant the 2019 en primeur campaign awoke the old beast for a moment but otherwise, the top end wine market of Bordeaux continues to struggle. Interestingly, the much broader Bordeaux 750 fared far better with a nearly 10% rise.

Italy was the star of the wine market show in 2020, with Tuscany posting nearly 20% gains and Piedmont 6.4%, followed by Champagne with 12.7%. It is more than coincidence that these markets have been exempt from US tariffs in recent times. Italy has long lived in the shadows of France in terms of reputation and price in the fine wine world, but the gap is still vast, certainly pricewise. The super recognizable names of the Super Tuscans, which have recently benefited from the mega vintages of ’15 and ’16, consistently receive incredibly high scores.

The 2016 Sassicaia (100 points WA, 97 VM), one of the most expensive Sassicaias of all time, is £230 a bottle, Lafite Rothschild 2016 (99 WA, 97 VM) is £530 a bottle, and production levels are roughly twice as much at Lafite. Maybe this is not a fair comparison but given the price differential and the tariffs in place, I know which one I would be backing:

Wine Owners - Relative Value Analysis

This is a short excerpt from Miles Davis' 'Wine Owners 2020 Wine Investment Report and a look ahead at 2021'. CLICK HERE to read the full report.



What is in a label?

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2020-12-16


Luke Macwilliam, December 2020

At the beginning of December, Mouton Rothschild announced that Chinese artist Xu Bing had been chosen to design the latest installment in their famous long running series. The label itself features the words Mouton Rothschild styled to resemble Chinese characters. Visually it’s attractive enough, it’s certainly quite clever and effective in the way you are compelled to look beyond the characters and see the recognisable letters hidden in the design.

                                                                                                                      Mouton Rothschild 2008 - label


Predictably the price jumped around 12% after the announcement, Mouton Rothschild, Chinese artist, good vintage, it's a banker! Isn’t it?

The last time Mouton entrusted the honour of designing their label to a Chinese artist was a decade ago in 2010, on the release of the 2008 Vintage. Now the market was very different back then, and the Chinese market was the main driver of the wine market as it grew and grew despite the financial crisis of 2008. Upon announcing the label design, prices skyrocketed.

The excitement was short lived, however. The Chinese bubble burst in the summer of 2011 and prices came tumbling down.


Mouton vs other wines


If we compare the big five from 2008 (nb. Lafite also included a Chinese Symbol on their 2008 label), you can clearly see the over inflation the hype caused compared to the other 1st growths. Those who bought Mouton and Lafite 2008 between Nov 2010 and June 2012 will have been licking their wounds for some time, destined to never recoup their losses. If you bought in 2014 however, you will have seen Mouton 2008 perform in a much more sensible manner.


Mouton-last 5 years


The last 5 years performance is a much healthier representation of the Bordeaux market in general, steady growth between 2015-2018, a flat 2018-19 (read THIS market report from Sept 2019 for the explanation) and finally strong resilience in a really difficult 2020 for markets of any kind. Has Mouton 2008 performed in this way because of it’s label or because it’s a top wine?

All of the 1st growths have tracked steadily, but more recently, Mouton and Lafite 2008 have begun to diverge in price once more showing that continued demand for these special labels does still exist.

In 20 years time when supplies of these vintages become more scarce, will Chinese demand for a label outrun the global demand for the greatest vintages (2010, 2016 etc)? That is the million dollar question.

Let’s look at the example of Mouton 2000, we have a golden combination of a special wine from a special vintage in a special bottle (not just for the Chinese Market, but for the world). The result? Steady increase in value over time as demand remains high and stocks steadily run down. The troubles of 2011 did not affect Mouton 2000 in the way they did affect Lafite and Mouton 2008.


Mouton 2000


If you buy into a Chinese label, you are buying into the notion that China is, and will continue to be the main driver of the top end of the fine wine market. If you buy into a wine, then the whole world will potentially be after what you have.

Wine is a long game, and snap reactionary decisions based on hype come with great risk. If you are looking to make a quick buck then you are likely to come unstuck. Call me boring, but I find trends more compelling than one-off anomalies. There is a place for special editions in your portfolio, they do tend perform well over time, so long as the wine is up to the task as well.

Oh, and if you fancy picking up a case of Mouton 2008 BID or BUY here.


                                                                                                                               Mouton Rothschild 2008 - label


Luke MacWilliam, December 2020



Banner Image: http://www.domainedechevalier.com


Wine Investment Market Report November 2020

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2020-12-09


Miles Davis, Wine Owners December 2020

As we head into the final phase of this extraordinary year, the world of wine investment is a calm and beautiful little side water, gently ebbing and flowing with that serene feeling it knows where it is going.Traditional assets continue to bounce around, no doubt causing palpitations and stress. More than ever, this year has been about timing in the capital markets, and if you got that wrong, the chances are you got it expensively wrong. Not so for vino! Unlike after the global financial crisis, the wine market has held its nerve, merchants did not mark down prices and the market has been stable. Investors are about, and even Bordeaux prices feel like they are firming up. Collectible assets are in vogue and it is easy to see why given these circumstances. You cannot even hold, let alone drink, a bitcoin, a share, a derivative, an option or a future and a bottle feels good, especially in lockdown!

Wine Owners - WO150 vs Financials


Demand from Asia has increased and merchants trading the big names have been pleased with activity levels in recent weeks. There is almost a feeling there is an element of restocking going on after a quieter than usual period (in Asia) over the preceding months. This has happened in a period when the currency has gone against dollar buyers, although only marginally. Buying is very specific but certain names have moved up considerably since the middle of the year, Mouton ’09 and ’10, for example, are both up c.10%, the controversial ’03 c.14%. There does not appear to be any thematic buying, however, so it is not possible to call a vintage, or a certain Chateau or producer. Keep looking for the relative value is my suggestion and do not forget to make use of the useful tools we provide. See below for an example (if anyone would like a demo on how to use this, please ask):

Wine Owners - Relative Value Analysis - November 2020

In Burgundy, especially in the trophy sector, if it is not in its original packaging it is not going anywhere and vice versa. We have seen big ticket items in Leroy and Cathiard sell well recently. Provenance is key and is proving valuable.

Piedmont, Super Tuscans and Champagne remain firm, as does my conviction as areas for further purchasing.

We have had a lot of demand for Penfolds products; whether that continues given the newly slapped Chinese tax on Aussie wine imports will be interesting to observe but, in the meantime, we have plenty of two-way activity.

Personally, I have never been able to compute the prices of some of the ‘Cult Californian’ wines but, in fairness, I have rarely tasted them. Not so for that wonderful producer that is Ridge; the wines are lovely and the prices reasonable, in normal fine wine language, and a total give away compared to some of the ‘cult’ counterparts. We have offers of the flagship, Monte Bello, on the platform of the ’10, ’13 and ’17 that I would happily recommend, to anyone!


**************************


We have been busy at Wine Owners, with a lot more trades going through, spread amongst an ever-increasing group of followers. We are at record levels of new subscribers and have £300k of fresh offers in the last week alone. Notwithstanding the difficulties of some warehouse operations presented, our back office is working well, and our post trade analytics improve all the time.

On that bullish note, the team and I would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support. For those who have not yet fully engaged, we look forward to welcoming you soon.

Have a very happy Christmas, a wonderful new year, and drink as well as you can!

Miles Davis, 8th December 2020


December update - New home cellar management capability

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2020-12-04


Wine Owners is the market-leading collection management platform that provides instant valuations and connects you with a peer to peer trading exchange.

Today, we're very pleased to announce that our collection management platform just got even better - and now includes a fabulous new home cellar management capability.

Imagine knowing exactly where each bottle is stored down to a hole in a rack, and being able to effortlessly move cases from a stack in the corner into bins or racks. Home cellars constantly change and this new release helps make organising them a joy.


Easily catalogue and organise wines at home.

Wine Owners - Mixed cases racks and bins


Create new racks, bins and mixed cases

Wine Owners - Create new racks, bins and mixed cases

Move or add wines easily to your home cellar.

Wine Owners - Move wines to your home cellar


Save time by copying wines.

Wine Owners - copy wines in your home cellar


And create and update cellar references.

Wine Owners - update home cellar references


All this while getting the same high quality pricing data from our referential database.

Wine Owners - home cellar pricing data


If you want to start managing your home cellar, sign in to your account or create an account if you're not yet a member of Wine Owners.



Krug Champagne

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2020-11-23


Krug is, surely, a Champagne that needs no introduction.

In all likelihood it is the first name to enter one’s head when considering the top names in the prestige Champagne bracket. It was the first thing I sought out on receipt of my first proper bonus! There are others obviously but Krug has carved itself a special niche of its own.

Krug, founded in 1843 produce a range of different cuvées ranging from the Grande Cuvée for everyday drinking (!) to the Clos d’Ambonnay for that very, very special occasion (at £2k+ per bottle it should be at least a very good excuse!). Here we are looking at Krug’s Vintage Champagne over some of the best vintages of the last two decades.

First, the market prices and scores:

Krug


And now the relative value score:

Krug

The mega vintage that is 2008 has not yet been released, so in the meantime I have no hesitation in recommending both the ’04 and the ’06 as very solid buys for the long term.


Banner Image: www.krug.com/the-house-krug


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