Read around, inform your choices, act decisively
by Juliette Martin
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!).
Posted in: Fine wine appreciation,