Market insight

This list shows all blog posts.

Old school RIOJA dinner - Portland Restaurant, London

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2016-10-17

Guests gathered for a rather special evening of rare, older Rioja vintages at the Portland restaurant, a one-star Michelin restaurant serving food in an informal style of family-service.

The plates were delicious, and although a couple of the starters - buttermilk and smoked cod’s roe - worried the table in light of the venerable bottles, there was no arguing with the deliciousness of every plate served. The main course of beef was simply outstanding, served with melt-in-the-mouth heritage carrots and brown buttered cauliflower.

The wines were opened 90 minutes in advance, and with so many crumbling corks, insecurity got the better of us and we held off decanting until the last minute in most cases.

Starter course 1

Ygay Etiqueta Blanca 1970

2 bottles were served, one of which opened with a musty nose, the other was much more energetic with purer character.

It’s always worth leaving old bones some time in the glass to recover from the shock of opening, and sure enough, the musty character blew off, but without the zest and purity of the second bottle.

Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Rioja Gran Reserva Especial 1970

By comparison the Castillo Ygay, bottled we think in the late 1990s or 2000s, and with a fresh cork to prove it, seemed rather clunky and thick. It was as if the extended barrel ageing has rubbed out its finer lines, leaving it smudged.

There was no arguing with the richer fruit, but where was the definition or class?


Starter course 2

Berberana Rioja Gran Reserva 1950

From a private cellar in Richmond, this wine was served from a decanter, having been filtered through muslin to strain a few pieces of crumbly cork that the operator of the Westmark cork puller had failed to pull out cleanly.

Arguably the star of the show, this ethereal wine showed intensity allied to a sense of weightlessness. It improved in the decanter over 2 hours and wowed the entire table.

Rioja GR Honorable Gomez Cruzado 1964

Similarly to the Ygay Etiqueta Blanca, a dustiness blew off with time in the glass to reveal pear drops and an earthy, more savoury character.

Bodegas Bilbainas 1964

Fruity and balanced with an alluring freshness and utterly delicious. A surprise since no one had encountered the producer. One to seek out and is very good value.

Main course

Vina Real CVNE 1964

This was the other wine that vied for wine of the night along with the Berberana.

Energetic, deep and pure. Burgundian texture with a brilliant complexity of fruit that carried though into a long and deeply satisfying finish.

CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva 1964

An absolute dog of a bottle, sadly. Devil’s juice.

Rioja Alta 904 Reserva 1964

A comparatively rich fruit profile on this wine compared to the other wines of the flight, but perhaps somewhat lacking in definition if we were to be critical. This less developed – perhaps worth revisiting in the future?


Corral Reserva 1987

Perhaps a touch of rusticity here, but with plenty to like, with a pungent, rose petal quality to the nose.

Corral Reserva 1991

Richer and less evolved than the 1987, this made an interesting comparison. Tasted on its own this would no doubt have seemed excellent, but slightly overshadowed by the context here I fear.

Plus a mystery wine served blind – 1988 Valbuena 5

Elegant and pleasantly evolved with remarkable balance between richness of the Douro fruit and a dry, firm structure reminiscent of cool climate claret, even down to a persistent saline note on the palate lending freshness. Certainly supports the reputation of the producer.

What we learned

1. The dinner challenged the blanket reputation of 1964 as immortal - it isn’t. Delicious though several were, they are not destined to remain so.

2. A common understanding is that Gran Reserva is better than Reserva, that is better than Consecha. Price follows the length of description it seems. Based on this tasting, the length of time aged in wooden vats does not necessarily improve the quality of the wine. The Etiqueta Blanco vs Gran Reserva Especial, both 1970, certainly supports this thinking. Th Etiqueta Blanco was the finer wine, by far.

It doesn’t help that definitions seems to have changed over the years. Our 904 1964 was a Reserva, and possibly all the better for it, whilst other bottlings of the same year are described (in a Bid for Wine auction a year ago) as Gran Reserva. More recent vintages of 904 are described as Gran Reserva.

3. You don’t need to just follow the wines of the biggest Rioja operations, such as Rioja Alta, Marques de Murrieta and CVNE. The least well known producers on this showing delivered very good value for such old wines.

Market Trends - March 24, 2016.

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2016-03-24

Sales of Bordeaux through the exchange saw a significant increase on the preceding month, rising from a 75% share of the market to 88%, the highest market share since the launch of the exchange in 2013. Bids overall in Bordeaux have increased in value by 2 percentage points, perhaps reflecting a slight upturn in confidence in the market.

The steep rise in Bordeaux’s market share overshadows other regions, pushing Burgundy right back to 5%, though the figure reflects less a decline for Burgundy than the strengthening of the market in Bordeaux. Volume and value traded were in fact similar to the preceding period. Rhone had a poor showing overall, dropping market share to 1.3%. Again, the figure is skewed by Bordeaux, but in any case volumes were down, mitigated only by a flurry of interest in Henri Bonneau triggered by the announcement of his death on Wednesday. The remainder of the market was shared almost equally between Champagne and Italy, where trading in top level Barolo oustripped Supertuscans two to one.

As usual, the First Growths accounted for the lion’s share of the Bordeaux market, 72% of the value of Bordeaux trades were made up of 1ers crus and their right bank equivalents. Several large trades in Haut Brion saw that wine take 61% of the value of 1st growth trades, though Mouton continued to hold its own at 11.7%, down by percentage on the preceding period, but up in overall value and volume. Lafite remained strong at 5.8%, with Latour and Margaux lagging behind. Petrus showed strongly too, picking up a share of 11% among the 1st growths, though the high value of these wines always has a tendency to distort market share by value.

Access the Trading Desk to view recent trades, bids & offers.



Market Trends - Feb.15, 2016.

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2016-02-15

As expected, Bordeaux continues to dominate trading on the exchange both by value and volume. Reported figures much the same as the previous quarter, with Bordeaux accounting for 75% of trades, and 75% of trading value. The latter is a 5% fall from the previous quarter, which reflects an increased number of trades overall, and in increase in bulk trades of slightly lower value wines in the runup to Chinese New Year.

Burgundy has increased market share on last quarter, now accounting for 15.75% of trade by value, and 11.55% by volume. Both figures are big steps up from the previous quarter, and serve to demonstrate that the marketplace is still small enough to be affected by parcels from individual collectors providing a sudden elevation in liquidity, especially outside Bordeaux.

The First Growths accounted for the largest shares of the market in terms of value trades, and within that number Mouton Rothschild had the best of it, with a 31.8% share of the First growth market by value. Lafite trailed slightly at 26.1%. Haut Brion showed higher than expected at 16.67% and Margaux held its ground at 11.9%.

The surprise in this quarter has been Latour, which has trailed at 7.14%. Hard to determine whether that’s just slightly lower availability of Latour in the market over that period, but either way it seems like the two Rothschild properties are on top at the moment.

The increased focus on Burgundy came at the expense of Italy, which seems to be slightly off the boil compared to the previous quarter’s promising outlook. In fact, Italy was clearly overtaken on volume by the Rhone, which ran at 5.89% of volume traded v Italy’s 1.54, although on value traded the figures are rather closer.

Access the Trading Desk to view recent trades, bids & offers.

Wine Owners goes mobile: New release!

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2015-10-29

Our goal? Simply to be the best platform in the world where wine lovers and collectors can do absolutely everything they want to do. We are the go-to address for your personal wine management.  Whatever you need to help you do that we'll build!

New is a responsive website, which means it automatically adjusts according to the screen size and resolution of the device you are using.

More and more we use multiple devices that come in diverse shapes and sizes. The new Wine Owners mobile website allows you to access Wine Owners from almost any device, wherever you are. The screen including the menus adapt to the screen size you are using. On a smart phone for example, the top navigation looks like and behaves similarly to an App.

Also available on mobiles and tablets is Label recognition, allowing you to take a picture of label with your device's inbuilt camera, and choose whether to research, add or consume wine using this cutting edge method.

The advantages of a responsive website over a downloadable App are that you have access to all the functionality of the entire site without compromising any features or activities; there’s no need to download periodic updates, and your site preferences persist across any devices you may use to access our website.

There's a raft of new functions and improvements which we've included, answering many of your requests for more... 

New functionality

As well as the new interface designed for mobile use, we have also added a number of new functions in this release:

Portfolio Management

  • New search

  • New advanced search

  • Mixed casing function

  • Mixed rack and wine bin function

  • More options and short cuts in My Wines

  • New pricing graphs

  • New pricing comparisons 

  • Overview per cellar as well as for the overall portfolio

  • Additional download options

  • Trading and price panel in portfolio management for better integration with the trading exchange and market data

  • Members’ stock levels indicated

  • New Discover Wine section

  • Improved delete and consume options

  • Price per points analysis, to pinpoint optimal quality and value buys

  • Switch vintages of a selected wine without having to search again

  • Label recognition for your research needs, for adding wines to a cellar, and consuming wine.

Trading exchange

  • Trading desk, an improved way of searching and navigating the fine wine exchange

  • New trading exchange interface

  • New market detail page, including trade history and individual merchant prices to compare against Wine Owners’ Market Level price

  • My Market Position panel, showing all your offers, bids, pending trades and order history with links to the detail lists

  • Upgraded auditing of past and pending trades, including copy invoices

  • Most searched for wines

User experience

  • New on screen notifications

  • New on screen signposting

  • New tutorial sections on key information pages

  • New take the tour page

  • Video tutorials

  • Social media sharing

  • Improved preferences section and preference handling

  • New iconography for easy one-click access to key pages

  • New subscription options from free access to advanced premium features

Spotlight...on you!

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2015-10-29

There was one thing we were really clear about when first launching Wine Owners. This was a platform created by and for wine lovers and collectors.

Fast forward 2 and a bit years, and there are an amazing 12,000 of you using the platform to access, organise, track and explore your wine collection in one way or another.

We've had such great feedback from so many of you who love what we've created, that we thought it would be great fun to throw the spotlight on you, and give you the stage for talking about the bit of your life to do with wine. Those of us who are into wine (some might say slightly obsessed by it) really enjoy reading other collector stories, so if you're happy to share, we'd love to hear from you.

Just contact me on with your thoughts and a photo!

To make it a bit more fun, we're offering each member whose story we publish a smart dinner in London, not to mention some brilliant wines from our private collections (which should keep all our lovely shareholders happy).

So what should you talk about? Anything you like really, but here are some pointers...

  • How did you get into wine in the first place?

  • What was the first ever wine you tasted that gave you goosebumps?

  • When did you start collecting?

  • What's your favourite region and style of wine?

  • Who's your favourite producer?

  • Best ever wine decision and worst ever wine decision?!

  • Most amazing wine and food combination?

  • The greatest bottle you've ever had and why you liked it so much?

  • Your favourite wine critic?

  • Your desert island wine.

Closing date for the invitation to share your wine life with us and be invited to a beautiful wine dinner is 31st November 2015.

Once again, contact us to say yes via email on or call us on + 44 (0)20 7278 4377.

The advent of the Market Network

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2015-08-13

The vision of a sharing economy is a far-reaching and powerful model that is beginning to shape current business practices by leveraging technology and allowing individuals to act as producers, entrepreneurs, collaborators, financiers and a myriad other roles.

“Marketplaces” provide transactions among multiple buyers and multiple sellers. Amazon and eBay are businesses that were created over the last two decades to enable peer-to-peer transactions. There is no doubting the power of creating an environment where thousands of businesses and millions of individuals can trade with one another.

“Workflow” Software as a Service (SaaS)platforms make it easy to manage and track activities that may be focused on short term or very long terms goals, whilst making it very easy for everyone to participate in the marketplace. The integration of workflow and marketplace is what distinguishes them from other marketplaces.

Consider Wine Owners activities’ through the prism of a Workflow Marketplace.

Firstly Wine Owners was conceived as a way of simplifying and simultaneously enriching the ‘wine lives’ of those with a passion for wine through a broad set of structured functionality and market information. This makes research, management and collection tracking substantially easier and less time consuming than before.

Secondly the trading exchange (marketplace) allows anyone to transact with anyone, in the knowledge that everyone has access to the same information, pricing assumptions, settlement and fulfillment processes. This many-to-many transaction pattern is key. Wine Owners is an N-sided marketplace — transactions happen between any participants, individuals and businesses, experienced and inexperienced alike. The pattern of trading counterparties is like a network. That makes Wine Owners both a marketplace and network.

A market network often starts by enhancing a network of professionals or high net worth individuals that exists offline. Many of them have been transacting with each other for years using email, mail, phone calls. By moving these connections and transactions into a SaaS Workflow, a market network makes it significantly easier for deals to be done and clients to get better service.

The Market Network is particularly relevant for complex, high value transactions. In wine, market fragmentation, tax status and specific logistical requirements make a prima facie straightforward commodity rather more complex as a peer-to-peer proposition. A market network is therefore the ideal model to simplify wine management and trading and so increase transaction velocity, satisfaction and build long-term relationships.

The principles that guide us are: the free flow of information; transparency in pricing and valuation; the ability to be in control of one’s own wine-related activities; the potential to sell excess wine; the creation of shared and accepted ‘rules’ about how to undertake and settle trades. All of these are important in contributing to an infrastructure where individuals and trade participants can benefit from the Wine Owners market network with confidence; safe in the knowledge they are operating within a sustainable and fair system.

Wine Management Platform (WMP) for wealth managers

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-11-04

Coming up soon, Nick Martin will present Wine Owners’ Wine Management Platform (WMP) for wealth managers.

November 13 at 7pm at the Masi wine bar in Zurich

Courtesy of finteCH+innovation meetup hosted by Credit Suisse’s John Hucker.

With the massive growth in alternative tangibles held by High Net worth Individuals, wealth managers have begun to appreciate the need to offer services to help their clients track and manage their treasure assets in addition to the traditional service offerings.

Wine Owners (WO) has developed a wine trading platform that makes it easy to manage, track and self-direct. Since launching 15 months ago, WO now manages over £500M in wine with the Wine Management Platform (WMP) as a branded (white label) solution used by companies such as Corney & Barrow and The Wall Street Journal.

The company was recently featured in the Financial Times How to Spend It magazine.

The presentation will show how Wine Owners is addressing the challenges of trading tangible assets using a version of WMP developed for wealth and relationship managers, and the strategies open to them to justify integrating the WO WMP with their client-facing proposition.

For more information, click here.

To see the great companies that Wine Owners works with, click here.

WO recently deployed a platform in partnership with the Wall Street Journal:

WO has developed a version of WMP for wealth/ relationship managers that allows them to offer own-branded functionality for High Net Worth Clients.

If you are interested in attending this event on November 13th please click here to sign up. See you there!

BYO Dinner – Exploring Spain

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-08-21

Following a long summer break, we’re back into our series of ‘BYO’ tasting dinners where you can share your wine treasures and your unusual purchases with friends and enthusiasts.

Taking a Spanish flavour this time, we’d love to hear from anyone who wants to come along on Tuesday 23rd of September with a bottle of old Rioja, boutique Priorat, or anything weird, wonderful and fun from the Spanish region. Before anyone asks, yes, that certainly includes sherry!

We’ll be eating this time around at Dehesa in Soho, where we can fit in up to 13 guests for a specially prepared menu showcasing the best of modern Spanish cooking.

Dehesa Soho

As usual, the Wine Owners Team will be digging out the odd interesting bottle to add to the excitement, including a 1965 bottle of Lopez de Heredia’s iconically old-school Vina Tondonia, and an early vintage of Alejandro Fernadez’s ground breaking Ribera del Duero, Pesquera.

The cost per head will be £90, plus a wine to share with the group.

Contact Us


A taste of Rhone

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-07-01

Wine Owners celebrated the start of the summer with a Rhone dinner for collectors and enthusiasts at our favourite Farringdon local the Quality Chop House. With everyone bringing an interesting bottle along, this was a great chance to explore the region through the work of some great producers. Particularly exciting was the inclusion of so many white wines from the region, which are often overshadowed by the reds.

Many thanks to all who came and brought wines for the night, and a big thank you to the staff at QCS for looking after us so well!

The wines…

Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2011

Fresh and mineral in style with lively acidity and notes of ripe lemon and fresh tarragon with red apple and fig tree. Very nice, but very much a lighter style of Chateauneuf.

Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2012

Clos des Papes was much more typical of the region, with a classic marsanne nose of peach and apricot, with overlaid savoury notes of sourdough bread and a leavening hint of anise

M. Chapoutier Hermitage “Chante Allouette” 2004

A good bottle of this, now fully mature with a characteristic deep gold colour and a nose of honey and heavy floral notes with hints of smoke and toasted nuts.

Domaine de Marcoux Chateauneuf du Pape 1998

Fully resolved now, and exhibiting quite animale character. Not a huge amount of fruit left here, and reminiscent primarily of earth and soft leather. Most agreed this bottle was very slightly corked.

Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf du Pape ‘Les Quartz’ 2003

Very nicely layered dark cherry fruit with hints of licorice and leather. Fresh acidity and very ripe tannins, lovely at the beginning of its drinking window, the previous wine being perhaps at the end

E. Guigal Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis 2005

Powerful and structured, seemed initially slightly closed after an hour plus of decanting, but opened up in the glass to reveal considerable depth – game, herbal notes and bacon fat were all picked out as references, beneath thick layers of dark fruit.

E. Guigal Hermitage 2003

Displaying more lifted red fruit character than the Cote Rotie, Hermitage was nevertheless by any standards rich and opulent, with an admirable freshness and floral character. Opinion divided on preference between this pair!

Pierre Gaillard “Fleurs d'Automne” Condrieu Vendange Tardive 2009

Big flavours of ripe peach and apricot, mixed with tropical fruit, but backed with refreshingly high acidity that prevents this wine from seeming overly and cloying.


Leoville Barton vertical

by Wine Owners

Posted on 2014-06-26

We were guided through this fascinating tasting by Anthony Barton’s grandson, who had kindly offered to guide us through the vintages and offered insights into his family history.

The origin of the Barton family’s involvement in wine stems from the peculiarities of the English taxation system in the 1700s. The family business had been selling sheepskins from Ireland where they had previously settled from England.  But Irish products were subject to high import duties at the time. In contrast Aquitaine enjoyed a favorable trading status with England and so the business was relocated to this favorable tax jurisdiction.

However, pressure was exerted by local interests who were perhaps not keen to be party to a European tax carousel, and so the Bartons developed wine interests, first as a merchant, and in the early 19th century as a producer through the acquisitions of Langoa Barton and then part of the Leoville estate that became Leoville Barton.

We tried the vintages in three flights, beginning with 2006 and 2000, two powerful and structured vintages that demonstrate excellent potential; followed by 2007 and 1999 as examples of overlooked vintages that are well priced and offering great current drinking pleasure. We rounded up the evening with two high profile vintages, 1989 and 1990, illustrative of great, maturing vintages on their plateau of drinkability.


Future promise

2006 – Pronounced pepper and graphite nose, , elegant fruit but still on its reserve.  Full of future promise.

2000 – A classic pencil-shaving nose, and displaying effortless balance. Delicately poised, a fine of finesse, yet still quite elemental. Greatness around the corner.

Early drinking crowd-pleasers

2007 – Lush, velvety nose, spiced warm palate, lovely food wine.

1999 – Fresh mint nose, expressive palate of angelica, puerh tea, licorice. Lip smacking and massively satisfying.

Mature classics

1989 – Super-structured and painfully intense licorice. Huge length of flavor. Impressive but not entirely integrated. An adolescent - needing several more years to fully resolve.

1990 – Incredible nose of anis and macerated cherries. Lifted black cherry and hedgerow fruits, with a weight and svelte palate that reflected greatness.


A quick straw poll revealed the 1990 (perhaps unsurprisingly) as the favourite wine of the evening, narrowly trailed by 2000, with 1999 and 2006 tying for bronze.

A big thank you again to Damien for joining us, to our friends from Asset Wines who organised this event with us, and to Aurelien and Morgane for welcoming us at Pall Mall Fine Wine!

19 records

Blog Search

Get a fully inclusive Robert Parker subscription

Robert Parker’s insights are an essential information resource if you have an interest in wine. We are thrilled to share that content with our Premium members, and offer the most complete experience for the collector and wine lover.

Normally $99/y, it is available free as part of the Wine Owners’ premium plans.


Subscribe to The Collector

Get market insight delivered directly to your mailbox by subscribing to our newsletter. Please complete the form below to request our free email newsletter.

Processing label...

Sorry, we could not process your request.

Try again Enter manually

Take Snapshot Cancel Cannot see an image?
If you cannot see an image coming up, please check your security settings of your browser. Blocking of the webcam can also be indicated by a red icon in your address bar.
Processing upload...