Burgundy has dominated the fine wine market for many years and its success is largely a result of the minuscule production quantities of the region’s elite wines.  The supply and demand nature of the wine market has helped to elevate the region’s premium wines to legendary status among connoisseurs and collectors alike.

The two leading producers, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (DRC) and Leroy, have seen prices driven skyward as buyers compete to add to their collections.  DRC, for example, was responsible for over $19M of the 2020 auction total (Acker, worlds No 1 wine auction house), despite accounting for only 28% of bottles sold.  Leroy claimed the top spot in the latest revision of the Liv-ex Power 100, a list of the market’s most tradable brands (Liv-ex is the UK benchmark for the fine wine trade), and is a clear indicator of Leroy’s standing with both the on and off-trade and collector, consumer markets.


Judged by average trade price premium Burgundy labels lead the secondary market by a huge margin but the long-term price performance is also unbeatable elsewhere in the wine market


Demand has remained strong in recent years with countless world records being broken both at auction and within the secondary market.  Judged by average trade price premium Burgundy labels lead the secondary market by a huge margin but the long-term price performance is also unbeatable elsewhere in the wine market by other regions.  Although Burgundy on a whole represents the highest entry point for the market, a carefully selected representation can comfortably outperform its closest peers.  The chart below tracks the price performance of the wine market’s leading regions and reinforces the view that Burgundy operates in a different sphere to its closest competitors.



Most markets work in cycles and it’s important to bear this in mind when looking at today’s opportunity with Burgundy.  The region is currently taking a well-deserved pause from the aggressive growth seen previously and this represents an ideal entry point to the market, the extremely limited production quantities should ensure the future growth of Burgundy.

Over the past decade, Burgundy’s market share by value has risen from 1% in 2010 to 18% by the close of 2020 with the Burgundy 150 index generating 140% of growth over the same period.  This compares very favourably to the 20% growth seen from the Bordeaux 500 index.



The luxury status and minuscule production levels of Burgundy has helped to attract the attention of new investors which has helped it to outperform equities including the FTSE100 and Hang Seng indices throughout 2020.  Offering an alluring combination of stability and growth that is hard to find elsewhere.

In 2020 the market for premium Burgundy continued to grow.  The volume of Burgundy traded showed a year-on-year increase of 31%, trading activity grew by 34% year-on-year and the number of active buyers increased by 11%.  All indicators of a healthy and sustainable secondary market.

Appetite for Burgundy remains strong despite current circumstances as recently explained by world-renowned wine critic Neal Martin who stated “Despite economies stagnating, people have money and those with disposable income have fewer outlets to spend it on, restaurants for one. Like 2020’s Bordeaux primeur [2019] campaign, wine-lovers exhibit an undiminished desire to purchase wine, partly because of quality and to retain allocations, partly to feel a sense of continuity until our lives return to normal”.

Last year we had an interesting chat with local businessman and Founder of London based taxi app Arrive.

Aiming to offer the user more transparency and choice, Hans explains the principles behind Arrive and discusses his inspirations, passions and thoughts on entrepreneurship.

Director of the London Wine Fair Hannah Tovey joined us in December 2020 to speak about the challenges they have faced over the last year and gives a sneak peek at what’s in store for the fair’s 40th anniversary show.

Update: Since recording this episode London Wine Fair have announced that due to the ongoing lockdown restrictions, this year’s show will be fully digital. This is such a shame as we know how hard Hannah and the team have worked to try and provide a fully functional event, but this is the right decision given the circumstances. We hope the show goes well for all involved.

For more information, you can visit the London Wine Fair website HERE

The wine market entered 2020 full of gusto and positivity but as the bizarre events of the year began to unfurl, the market’s direction for the coming year initially looked uncertain. One thing we knew for sure is that wine had a history of performing well in times of financial stress, and this year soon became a new proving ground for this belief.

The Hong Kong disruption, US wine import tariffs, Brexit and then the Covid-19 pandemic presented unique challenges, and the global wine trade reacted by improvising and overcoming a deluge of obstacles to keep the market on track. The biggest wine trade fairs were cancelled and the Bordeaux En Primeur campaign became a mail-order type affair to keep the wheels moving. Bordeaux producers worked wonders to ensure that critics and buyers were supplied with premium condition barrel samples to allow for pre-release tastings. This, combined with some very attractive pricing resulted in the campaign being heralded as a success.

But behind all of this, prices held firm. The financial performance of many leading wines remained remarkably stable at first and then continued to rise. This is particularly true of Champagne, Italy, California and Rhone, who all saw either growth in value and market share. This was good news for our clients as these regions have been an area of particular focus for us over the last couple of years something highlighted in our first podcast episode in January 2020.

Market Performance

All of the major Liv-ex indices showed positive growth in 2020 with the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 growing by 3.26% and the benchmark Liv-ex 100 gaining 4.65%. November saw the latter reach its highest level in two years, with trade by value reaching a ten year high.

As traditional investments and equities either struggled or became extremely volatile, wine stood firm and offered stability amid the growing financial storms. The wine market had once again shown unmatched stability, as demonstrated in the chart below. By the end of November, only the Liv-ex 100 and the S&P 500 were in positive territory. The FTSE and the Hang Seng were both negative and the DAX ran flat.

A weakening of Sterling against other currencies helped to highlight UK based wine holdings as an attractive purchase but there were also other forces at play. Wine is simply more appealing to people as an alternative asset and as central banks pumped liquidity into the global economy, investors and collectors were drawn to low-volatile, hard-assets such as fine wine.

There’s plenty of evidence to show why. 2020’s biggest price performer was Bordeaux’s Chateau L’Eglise-Clinet 2010 which grew by 37% to the end of November. This was closely followed by Sassicaia 2013 and Bollinger 2008 which saw 30.7% and 27.4% respectively. You could argue that similar performance could have been found elsewhere but probably not with the added protection that low volatility and stability can provide.

A Broadening Market

The wine market’s regional diversification is something that we have been at the forefront of for over a decade and this year we saw this broadening really take hold, with great results.

The US fine wine market is huge and American buyers have helped to drive the performance of regions outside of Bordeaux and Burgundy by side-stepping Trump’s 25% wine import tariffs.

This resulted in Champagne outperforming all other fine wine regions for the first year ever. The Champagne 50 index grew by 8.27%, bolstered by critically acclaimed releases from the 2008 and 2012 vintages. Italy, another US tariff-dodging region, gained 6.72% with collectors increasingly turning to premium Piedmont, such as Giacosa Conterno, Vietti and Gaja, names by now very familiar to our clients.

The Rhone 100 was the third best-performing regions, gaining 3.64% and although the Rhone was still subject to US tariffs geographically, many of the region’s wines were deemed exempt by having an alcohol content above 14% abv. Rhone wines have a strong following in the US, thanks to critics such as Jeb Dunnuck and Robert Parker which resulted in US-based buyers accounting for over half of region’s trade share by value.

US wines, predominantly from California, had a great year increasing their trade share from 2.3% last year to 7% at the time of writing. The Napa Valley, in particular, has provided some of the best performing wines with Harlan Estate 2016 creeping into the top ten wines traded by value this year. The USA is still very much a growing region outside of the US but we have experience and contacts, having worked with the region’s top wines for many years. The future for these wines is very exciting and we’re well-positioned to guide you through the best products as the market for them develops.

Where from here?

If you were looking for some positive news to end the year, look no further than the wine market. With a ‘no-deal’ scenario with the EU seeming the most likely outcome for 1st January, any further weakening of Sterling could have huge benefits for your wine portfolio moving into 2021. Next year seems very uncertain at this stage with so much hanging in the balance but the wine market has a very positive outlook and we remain committed to seeking out the best wines to maximise market conditions and deliver growth over the coming years.

Véronique Sanders, President of the world-renowned Chateau Haut-Bailly joined us on the show to share their approach to winemaking, her family’s history at the chateau and surviving the challenging 2019 En Primeur campaign.

Véronique has a huge amount of experience and has overseen the production of some truly exceptional wines at Chateau Haut-Bailly.  If you found this episode interesting, you can learn more about Chateau Haut-Bailly through their website by clicking HERE.

Wine educator and sommelier Cristie Norman joins us from LA to speak about her online wine courses, setting up the United Sommeliers Foundation and her passion for wine.

We also discuss some of the personal challenges she has faced, diversity in the wine world and how representation can be a driver for change.

Connect with Cristie:




Full Auto Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi, welcome to the Cult & Boutique show. My name is Daniel Patterson. I’m very excited to be joined by one of the brightest, most passionate, innovative people on the wine scene. She’s the president of the United Sommelier Foundation, the CEO of the online wine course, and recently awarded the Wine Educator of the Year by the Wine Enthusiast and featured in the 40 under 40 tastemakers for 2020.

[00:00:26] Joining us from L.A., Cristie Norman. Thanks for joining us. How are you today? I’m doing well. Thank you so much for having me. Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you for joining us. How are things over in L.A. today?

[00:00:37] Actually, quite cold. I feel like I’m over there.

[00:00:39] It’s just very miserable here today.

[00:00:43] It’s not quite snowing, but it’s not the regular 90 degree sunny days. So it’ll be like this for about a month and then we’ll be back to normal.

[00:00:51] Very good. Very good. Okay, now let’s let’s get to it. 2020 has been mad it’s been a crazy year. At the beginning of the covid pandemic, the hospitality industry took a severe hits. Now, rather than retreat, you created the United Sommelier Foundation. Now, for those who are unaware, it’s a charity set up to help mainly Sommeliers within the hospitality industry.

[00:01:18] Did it surprise you to see such positive responses from the industry with even the likes of Robert Parker’s the Wine Advocate, Forbes and Acker auction house, to name a few, getting behind it?

[00:01:30] I wouldn’t say that I was surprised. Well, first off, we didn’t intend to set out a foundation at the beginning. It really started with me and a master sommelier that I was hosting a class with. We were going to have a master class on March 16th that we had to cancel, of course, because everything got shut down the day before and we were just chatting. And he said, how can we help the somms? And I said, let’s start a Go Fund Me, let’s do a crowdfunding thing and figure it out. And so what I did was I called the most important, most reputable people in the industry that I know all over the country. So none of our board. I think actually there’s two guys in Chicago now. But originally I had one person kind of in every major market in the US and we came together because I’m twenty six years old now. I was twenty five when we got together and I needed the experience, the mentorship and just the the legal knowhow that these guys had and those relationships in the industry. So when we needed press, you know, when we needed Robert Parker’s recommendation and Lisa Perrotti-Brown offered to write us an article. We have an MW on our board. Right. And so did it surprise me? No. Was it difficult? More difficult than I thought to raise funds? Yes. The first month was a little bit slow. And then in April, we had our first large donation from Kobran Imports and they donated one hundred thousand dollars. And that really kick things off for us, really legitimised us. And I’m super grateful for them because it just started the role of what we were doing because we had so many people that were in financial crisis and need you know, they’ve all these sommeliers have been at restaurants and specifically highly trained for this one craft and usually, you know, paid as servers or managers or something of the like. They’re not millionaires typically. That’s what I mean. You know, maybe some are. But, you know, it was a very, very difficult time. So I’m glad because we were the only people that were doing it and still are.

[00:03:45] Yeah. And you’re doing very well with us as well.

[00:03:47] And so, I mean, we’re we’re we’re trying you know, we’ve raised almost a million dollars, which is really exciting. But, you know. I want to help as many people as we possibly can, so it just takes more people hearing about it, too, because I’m sure there’s lots of people who’ve never heard of us.

[00:04:06] Yeah, I know. That’s what we’re here to help spread the word, you know, make it more of a universal matter as well. And I. So didn’t you even get some form of like a backing from Jason Wootbridge’s Hundred Acre that like some form of.

[00:04:21] Actually, it’s amazing. I so I that’s how we met on Instagram. Right. I’m pretty active on Instagram and on a random Tuesday I posted about our Go Fund Me and there was a person who I didn’t know and they commented, Cristie, I want to help with the auction, please call me. And so it was 10 p.m. on Tuesday night and I gave him a ring. It was a California zip code or not a zip code, a California area code that trying to sell.

[00:04:52] And it happens to be the vice president of sales of Hundred Acre Winery. Wow. And he had all of the relationships in Napa. We had this amazing woman named three D. She worked for Morleigh for a very long time, which is another prominent Napa winery. And so they sent out these messages to their longtime friends and said, help us source some donations for this. And then simultaneously, one of my friends for a very long time who we also met on Instagram. But then in real life, his name’s Cameron. His username was Chateauneuf du Pimp and I reached out to him. It’s not his username anymore. And somebody took it, but I thought it was brilliant. And he was in Alabama at the time. I reached out to him and said, oh my gosh, your username is so cool. He ends up becoming the wine director at the sister restaurant of mine. So I worked at Spago Beverly Hills for the last five years and he worked at Kut as the wine director. And so he had relationships with these auction houses, including Aker. And so Aker was really generous in giving us part of their buyer’s premium. It’s a rolling auction. So we have you know, they have a weekly thing that they do. And so if things didn’t sell in the first auction that we had, you know, they would sell kind of along the way. And it was funny. A few weeks ago, Chris and I looked at the auction report and we’re like, wait, did that just say thirty six thousand dollars? Like we didn’t even know there, like things left in the auction, but things just kept rolling in. And it was it was very successful. But yeah, Jason Woodbridge is amazing. He donated one hundred twenty five thousand dollars from a different charity auction that they hosted. They split it between us and another charity. I mean, he personally donated twenty thousand dollars of wine. They donated this really beautiful vertical of all of their one hundred point ones. And it was absolutely incredible. So, so, so incredibly grateful for them. And, you know, with everything that’s happened to with the fires up there, it’s a very stressful time. And so we’re trying to do fire relief for them as well.

[00:07:05] Well, this year, I mean, it’s just given us everything, hasn’t it, really? And you mentioned obviously with the with the wildfires, I mean, this is what, the third or fourth year in a row now. And Napa Valley, you’ve got some involvement there trying to help people over in the Napa Valley, is that correct?

[00:07:26] Yeah, well, the USF the United Sommelier Foundation was founded in covid-19 and immediately to support sommeliers and that but our mission statement is to support families in financial crisis due to circumstances beyond their control. And so that means wherever the need is, right. Whether that means somebody’s restaurant is destroyed in a hurricane, whether there is a giant fire and their tasting room burns down and there are Sommelier working at harvest or working at a tasting room, I think that counts. And I’ve always had a very progressive view of what a Sommelier is. We don’t have any sort of certification requirements to pass. I think some people have been on the floor working at restaurants, as sommeliers for years and they don’t have any type of formal education, you know, and that’s fine for me.

[00:08:16] Yeah, well, sometimes I find myself like, um, I’ve recently I said, well, the last couple of years taken up my WSET, you know, courses. I’m up to a level three enough, but it can get quite intense often. So I’m going to put that on the backburner. But I found that most of my experiences have come. I maybe can relate to this as well, just for taste and a lot of different one. And I said just whatever it’s by itself pairing it with a meal, whereas with the company you’re with, that’s where you really get your experience from. Would you agree or disagree with that?

[00:08:49] So absolutely. I think that it matters what you’re selling at your restaurant or, you know, what kind of tasting groups that you. Two, I find that a lot of wine education, especially at the upper levels, you study so much that people never get to see or taste, and it’s kind of confusing. And for me, I don’t really care how much of Somalia knows about Greece. If they’re not selling any Greek wine, I want to know how they can sell me a really cool natural wine or something different that I haven’t seen before. A little gem or something. That really is what matters to me personally. So I think that any anybody can become a symbol if they study the basics of wine and then they learn about the products that they have. You know what I mean?

[00:09:33] Most definitely. Most definitely. And it’s and it’s fair to say, you know, you’re not just the Somalia. You are an entrepreneur at heart with many exciting businesses, projects on the go. And as you mentioned, obviously, you’ve got a very strong, positive social media presence. And it would seem that you have the dream career. You’re pouring, serving or were pouring serve and tasting some of the finest wines in the world. However, that was not enough for you. You decided to take up the initiative set up here on my wine course. From my understanding, this came about as you acknowledge that a great way to grow the number of wine drinkers would be to educate them, thus giving them confidence without being correct.

[00:10:18] So, yeah, I think the the whole point of wine education that we missed the mark on is that we want to connect with people who don’t know anything about wine. And in order to do that, you have to make somebody feel comfortable. And, you know, in my experience, working at one of the most expensive restaurants in Los Angeles, you know, of esteemed and really a much older crowd in terms of, you know, like old Beverly Hills, you know what I mean? And what I realised was that wine, education and income were not proportionally linked in any way. And nobody comes down from the heavens and tells you, oh, now here’s this wine knowledge that that’s bestowed on you. It just doesn’t happen. It’s true. And so I wasn’t a very good sommelier kind of at tables because people sometimes were just so taken aback that I was a young woman that was Asian. I mean, a lot of people just thought I was a hostess and after a couple of years, it just didn’t bother me anymore. And I just knew how to to play with it. And I could still have fun. But in terms of teaching people things, I was not the best in person because it’s a young woman, you know, telling somebody what they know maybe who’s much older. It just makes somebody feel uncomfortable. And especially I wouldn’t do that in front of guests. Right. There’s just no way for me to educate at the restaurant, whereas my boss, who’s older and a white guy, he could probably get away with some things. Right. And people might even ask him, hey, how can you help me? But for me, it was like the opposite. And so I realised that teaching behind a computer screen was the best option for me. And honestly, I need those people to be educated before they walk into the door of my restaurant. And it’s so funny because, you know, people were just like, oh, is she creating a new certification programme, yadda, yadda. And I’m like, no, I’m trying to make all of you guys more money. I want people to be able to shop by by region and not by brand. Does that make sense? I must say yeah. And to be able to communicate with professionals in a way where they can find them new fun things that they’ll like and not have them beholden to the system of PR companies that you’re winery’s that can afford PR companies. Right. And sell their brand. You really have to have a it’s like it’s like having a driver’s licence, in my opinion.

[00:12:41] Great analogy for sure. You are right, though, because again, if I’m a Bordeaux lover, I always, always will be. Don’t get me wrong. I will digress through mt Napa cabernet sauvignons, my Australian shiraz is my Chateauneuf du Pape’s from the Rhone Valley. But like you mentioned, there are a lot of people out there who may not have that knowledge. Well, you may not need to spend the type of money you need to spend on a good quality Bordeaux if you don’t have the affordability. But you can go to another region, say, within France, I can maybe like a say like a Languedoc or Provence or Loire Valley where you’re getting you get some quality that you would pay for like a premium Bordeaux, Burgundy, but you’re saving yourself. Maybe, you know, half the money you usually spend on one bottle.

[00:13:33] Absolutely. I think it’s just about showing people what their options are and allowing them the opportunity to try some of them in their own markets or whatever. Right. Because my wine course has been taken in like over 20 countries. So I can’t recommend wines for every market. But I do have, you know, the major things that you see out in the world. And I mean, it is best tailored for the US. But but it still applies, you know what I mean, like the one on one basics are kind of all the way out there, but yeah, no, I just want people to be able to say instead of I only know a lemon. And so they’re like, oh, I imagine if you only had a lemon your whole life and you said, I hate all fruits grown on trees. That’s what I feel like so many people do with wine. They’re like, oh, I have this one white wine I didn’t like. So I don’t like white wine. And it’s frustrating for me because I want to show them the world and then they can make their own decisions and then communicate things like that. Exactly. You know, you go to your local wine shop and say, hey, I love Opus One or whatever, but I can’t afford it tonight. So what do you recommend? And it’s so easy for us as wine professionals. I don’t know if you can relate, but when somebody you know, when somebody tells you a recommendation, because I’m sure you get people asking you all the time. Yeah. And so they’ll tell you, oh, I like this brand or this wine, and then you can come back and say, try this, this, this.

[00:14:58] And that’s really the power I’m trying to get people just like you said, I would sometimes be on the phone. And even though we’re doing it more from an investment standpoint, I will have a client who well, who used to be prior to Covid, will be in a restaurant, say, right, Daniel, I’m in the Dorchester, at Hyde Restaurant in Piccadilly Circus. What kind of order this is? I’m looking to spend the next month per bottle. I’m thinking, well, if you’re not kind of restaurant needs, be prepared, spend, you know, several hundred pounds. But sometimes if you even understand like a region as an example, if you’re drinking, say, from something like Pomerol as an example, you don’t need to spend money on like a Petrus or Le Pin. If you could buy like I a like a Le Gay as an example, it’s a funny name. People might be a bit awkward, but it’s a good drinking wine and you’re paying a heck of a lot less money than what you would like it off regard, right?

[00:15:56] Yeah, it’s really affordable, reasonable. It still gives you all the little things that you like about.

[00:16:02] Exactly. Exactly. And you mentioned I mean, it’s incredible that you’re already in twenty countries and even though, yes, it’s more I might be taken this out of context as I am for a lot of the more American market. Wine is a universal it’s a universal language, irrespective of if it’s in a French accent, if it’s the Spanish, American, Chinese doesn’t matter. It’s a universal language. But for yourself, you’re a visionary. Where in ten, fifteen years time can you see that, course going? How many maybe not how many countries I’ve seen that’s going to be just depend on a myriad of factors. But where do you see your on my wine course within the next ten, fifteen years?

[00:16:44] I’m well actually I, I’m already working on the online course, which is with a master Sake sommelier. I’d like to do a beer course. I’d like to do a spirit course. I would like other people with different voices to do wine one on one, like the the introductory class like I have, but in their own style, because I speak to a very particular demographic of people. There’s people that love my humour and the way that I am. But I’m actually a big proponent of other people teaching. I never discourage somebody from doing their own wine course or anything like that because we all have our different spaces and we get to all work collectively on it. Right. And so I’m working on a digital marketing agency for wineries. I think that’s a huge problem, that they don’t have really good marketing teams doing really high quality work from a wine person’s perspective, because I find that a lot of marketing teams will just kind of market to general consumers and maybe don’t do it in a way that appeals to wine lovers and wine drinkers. And so having somebody who can bridge that gap, I mean, that’s still it’s going to take a while for that. But, yeah, creating all sorts of different courses, just having lots and lots of free content. That’s really high quality and fun. Like, I love doing fun stuff. I want to have an entire album of raps wine raps because I’m ready to download it.

[00:18:11] Subscribe off the iTunes store. I’ll be your first customer for sure.

[00:18:18] I listened to him and my whole life, my babysitter listened to Eminem when I was in third to sixth grade or something, and I just loved I loved it. And I always joked around about doing something like that. And I did my first one last year, and it was so it felt really good for my soul. I don’t know if anybody else liked it, but it has.

[00:18:38] And I’m with the only complaint, the only complaint it’s in suggesting that Cristie be the only complaint I had was really getting into it, and it was over.

[00:18:48] I was like, well, you know, I watch the video that was like how to write your own rap. And within 12 minutes of the video, I was like off to the races and I made the rap in about forty five minutes. And I just I was like, and so I texted my friend who’s an EDM deejay, and he also does rap music. He also made all the wine course music. So like every section has a different theme and it’s designed to give you the feeling that I want it to give you. And he’s incredible. And he made this track and the track was just so outrageous. I mean, it’s like a Migos song. I don’t know if you listen to it, it has the sound of glasses crashing. It’s all custom corks popping like everything. And so I said, I have to do a crazy video. And I only spent, like, I don’t know, fifteen hundred bucks on the whole thing. I mean, my, my yeah. No, my friend, she was in this leadership programme that I was doing at the time was like a life coaching programme. And so she goes, oh I’m a videographer. I can help and know like five hundred bucks. I was like, sure that’s, that’s perfect. You know. She rolls up with her own red camera, at least seventy five thousand dollars of equipment total. She just rolls up on set. Wow. And I got a Ferrari for like a few hours. Super fun. Yeah. No, but I just love and it all of it came together within two weeks like it was out, it was edited in three days. Like we just, just did it just for fun.

[00:20:16] This is really honestly it was really well done. Do more of that. I want to do more of that.

[00:20:24] There seems to be more of a crossover between us and UK rap music. So, you know, if you need that UK influence, you can you can reach out to me.

[00:20:32] OK, you know, I got a little cameo. You know that man. Little chorus interjects exactly as I say, just azmy.

[00:20:40] And generally these men generally look after me, you know, but I’m all right.

[00:20:46] One one thing that seems absolutely clear from following your career up until now is your natural desire to help and improve. Speaking for myself prior to joining Cult & Boutique, I found myself slightly disillusioned. I think it’s a way of putting it, you know, with aspects of the wine world, some of which you’ve touched upon in terms of stereotypes. And there’s a certain expectation of how people should look and so on and so forth. But based on your journey, if you could change three things within the industry, what would they be and why?

[00:21:26] I would like of to be taught that they can teach other people and they don’t need to be masters to do that, because right now in the industry, people get so nit picky at influencers and people who are doing their own wine education or whatever, and they aren’t like esteemed. They are they are at a fancy restaurant. They don’t have a high certification and people just trash them. And I’m just like, we should celebrate them. So that’s one. So, two, I would love for the wine industry to actually keep up with technology and create fun stuff in apps. I mean, literally kind of in the same vein, people who are doing fun stuff on the Internet, making cute pieces of content just kind of got made fun of. And you’re supposed to fit into a box. And I’ve just never been like that. And the thing is, if we want to engage people like I made these YouTube videos that are still up, you’re welcome to watch them. And they’re called adulting with alcohol. They’re good. They’re like, yeah, well, they were they had super low production value. I mean, it was just me and my friend in my apartment. But, you know, it was a mix of wine, education and comedy. And there’s so many people that reached out to me and they said, oh, my gosh, I learnt this. And I went and tried this. And it was because I was being stupid, you know, and I was just being authentic. That’s two. And then I don’t know. Three, I think that we need to expand wine education in terms of like what people will actually see in the market, because there’s so much stuff that we study and we’re supposed to memorise all the stuff, but ultimately doesn’t really matter that much. And I feel bad saying that because obviously it matters to somebody like somebody is wine. But I’m saying the level of importance for us to memorise these useless facts and have this barometer and actually, I want to share something on the same vein, so I did I went to this programme called 40 Years of Zen in Seattle, and it’s with a bunch of scientists that neuroscientists that put, you know, measure the electricity in my brain. And I had a concussion from a car accident that I was not aware of, that it was damaging to my brain and my Broca’s area, which is the area that helps you recall words from memory. It was damaged. And over the course of that week, they actually helped repair my Broca’s area. It’s much easier now, but I can’t tell you what a failure I felt like I was because I couldn’t remember this vintage or this vineyard right off the bat. And I couldn’t I couldn’t spit it out. If I could write it, I could do it. So but it was so strange. It felt like I was being measured by how fast I could climb a tree but I’m a fish, you know.

[00:24:08] Yeah.

[00:24:09] And so I think that, you know, encouraging people to learn about new things, become an expert in what they want. And you can still be an esteemed wine professional without knowing a tiny bit about everything, because that’s really what I did. And I became a certified sommelier at 21 years old because I knew how to study, because I made connections. Right. But in terms of the scheme of the world, I had no idea. But I could. You can still get these certifications.

[00:24:36] Yeah, that’s an amazing achievement at 21 as well, because usually people I believe are way into the sort of late 20s to mid 30s before they can get to that position, especially, you know, where you ended up working. Well, via a Spago’s too is quite a quite an achievement for yourself, right?

[00:24:55] Yeah. Well, I mean, I just saw the the biggest wine list, one of the biggest wine list in the US, and I wanted to work there. I just thought that it would be the best thing. And I told them, you know, I would keep my head down and I would work really hard and I didn’t have any bad habits that they needed to  break, you know what I mean? Yes. I was a clean slate and I was you know, I had a good attitude.

[00:25:18] I wasn’t very vocal until later, you know, but, uh.

[00:25:28] But, yeah, you said you saw what you saw and you wanted to do it and, you know, if you if you believe it, you can achieve it, right?

[00:25:36] Yeah, I, I have the same sort of dream,  dream, declare and deliver and that’s the three step process. And you dream first and then you work backwards.

[00:25:48] OK, so long story short, over the summer UK wine writer slash TV show host slash personality Joe Fattorini annonomously wrote and circulated often misogynistic and toxic. What’s up? Missives under the psuedonym wine bitch. And that was basically talks and body and women writers, tradespeople, Instagram filters, etc. under the guise of satire include in many of his colleagues. These messages got out faster and he tried to stem the bleeding by contacting the targets privately and apologising. There was some a bunch of cease and desist letter that was sent out to him. And then we had the recent exposé in The New York Times and various other press outlets highlighting the Courts of Master Sommeliers and their archaic attitudes. As with many things in a world today which require such massive changes, which is, again, long overdue, what do you think is needed to change perceptions move forward as well as supporting the individuals affected?

[00:27:01] I think people need to get loud and not worry that these larger forces are going to come toppling down on them. And I know it’s very different in the UK, actually. I know one of the women who is affected. She’s a dear friend of mine and nobody knows about the situation in the US. It was the first time I ever, ever heard of it. And she told me about these messages. And, you know, she was writing an article that she’s still trying to get published, just talking about the bigger issue of bullying and misogyny in the wine industry, because it she you know, it seems as though the UK, it’s much more difficult for women here as well as in the US here I you can still be successful and be very outspoken about certain things. Yeah. Especially because of this catalyst of The New York Times. Now, I think people are getting less scared. I haven’t been very scared the past few years. I probably I got actually a lot of of hate, but it’s kind of transitioning because people kind of see like, OK, like this has been the way that she always was, if that makes sense. Yeah. And yeah. And I think that women need to keep speaking up and to call it out the way it is and it doesn’t need to be emotional. It. Doesn’t need to be bad, but just factually, and that’s what we need and we need a leadership because in the wine industry, what at least what I’ve seen is that, you know, there’s no repercussions for some of these people who are abusive or sexually harass women or whatever. Actually, I posted there was a person who was, you know, just being really terrible on like a Facebook comment. I ended up posting it and all of these people messaged me and said, wow, this guy has done this. He’s done this, he’s done this, is this. I’ve reported him to the court so many times. And I posed the question to the court, hey, so are you going to let this guy sit the Masters exam next year? Because that’s what he’s saying he’s going to do after all of these women have reported him. Right. So it’s like about the structures. There’s not enough women in power, you know, being on a board myself now, I really see how much a board affects the entire industry for what it looks like. What it sounds like is totally different. I was the only woman on my board for a period of time. We started with two and then it ended up just being me for a little bit. And then we added to women who are incredible. Some of is very in San Francisco, New York, and the vibe is different. Does that make sense, even though we’re on a conference calls? You know, I think that it’s always good to have a balance of different types of energies, different types of personalities, and especially when you’re making very difficult decisions, how it’s so important to have a lot of people that look different in the room. And it’s it’s so, so important. And so until we start doing that and really meaning it and really taking action and not just saying black lives matter, not just saying we support diversity, but really, truly doing it in hiring these people and and bringing us all in together in the same room and not at a different table until then, I don’t think that things are going to change.

[00:30:15] Absolutely. You make a great point. And obviously, I don’t want for us to go too far down the political, you know, fields here. But you’re absolutely right, because a lot of what you’ve said there has now become more of a become more of like a label than an actual than an actual movement. It’s more, you know, support the LGBTQ support the Black Lives Matter, support, you know, women’s rights, people saying it.

[00:30:39] But what’s actually going on behind it is, you know, it’s it’s it’s the the saying it on social media, but then silently, really nothing changes within the organisation.

[00:30:53] Yeah. But obviously there are women like yourself who, you know, who’s again, really your words in terms of building that follow in and you’re continuing to build up critical mass for yourself and your continue to enhance your reputation within the Wine World University. That’s that’s undoubted. But do you feel it would also help not just from the media standpoint and everything else, but for, say, sticking to the wine industry, say, a figure of authority for women within the wine industry, say a woman or some women who are not upper sort of level of established, whether it’s wine critics, women journalists who make more of a stance on behalf of the female counterparts, or do you think it’s also a combination of education internally in this male dominated industry?

[00:31:50] I think the. Just by me existing, it’s a protest by me being successful and just being is, you know, it’s challenging to some people just the fact that I look like this and I’ve done what I’ve done. And so I think the biggest thing, not only using their platform, not everybody needs to be as an outspoken social justice person as I am. I’m somebody who really always sticks their neck out for four people that I see that are being hurt. I mean, I’ve always been like that. I don’t know what it is, but I just I’m it’s like a compulsory thing. I have to if I can do something, I try to always do it. But not everybody is like that, and that’s OK. But I think that women who are successful, you work together, talk to each other and all these group chats with just women in my industry that I love and care about and creating connexion, creating community and giving out. And when you’ve done all of those things. Yeah. Then when you’ve really established yourself, sure. You speak out. But I would say like to young women who are coming up, like, you don’t need to do this, you know, I mean, you don’t need to do this. If they don’t feel comfortable doing it, then they shouldn’t. However, I do believe that people in privileged positions do get to use that platform for good and for change. And there’s there’s many women who will come after me. And I hope to make the world a slightly better place for them, if I can, you know.

[00:33:19] Yeah, definitely. Definitely know. We need to be the change that we want to see in people. And we say, yeah, good luck with on the set what we try to get behind ourselves. Because I said even here with you know, when you think of an investment broker, most people assume, you know, males and alpha males and pump your chest and whatever else. But, you know, we’ve employed our fair share of women as well because, again, we’re big believers in equality. And I say, yeah, we’re definitely with you’re not moving 100 percent. But, you know, you are very engaging with your audience. And it’s like you’re creating a community of like minded people, helping each other grow and learn what’s traditionally been that privileged industry. And timing can be key. And it feels like with the growing amount of people getting into wine and younger age demographic that the stage is yours. Do you have a vision for an improved, more approachable and diverse wine market? And what would that look like?

[00:34:23] I will. I mean, first of all, everybody would learn about wine because the fact that young people right now will pay twenty two dollars for a cocktail, but they won’t share a bottle of fifty dollar wine between four of them, that’s alarming. You know, that’s the way it is in the US. I don’t know how it is in the UK right now, but for young people, the drink of choice are craft cocktails. They are. And, you know, they’re made with some lame ingredients. I mean, like things that have been done. It’s nothing special. It’s not terroir. Like it’s not, you know, and a lot of people just aren’t drinking because they’re you know, there’s a stigma sometimes. Right. And you can I want to promote this idea that you can enjoy in moderation. And wine is something that you can share amongst people, share with friends. I would like the wine industry to become as diverse as the people that are. And actually, one of my wonderful, wonderful students and friends, her name’s Cassana, she is from the Caribbean and she’s in Brooklyn. And, you know, I was chatting with her about her vision for the wine industry and she was like, well, you know, I really want to pair Caribbean food with wine because it’s something that we normally don’t have. And she’s speaking to a whole new audience of people, you know, and creating these pairings. And she’s recommending things at the shop. She works at Brillion. She’s still coming up in her wine education. But that’s that’s how we all do, right? We all start somewhere. And so I’m really excited because it’s going to bridge this like intercontinental food and wine with so many different things. And I think our vocabulary is going to get way bigger. You know, everyone always asks me what’s the right term to use? And it’s like whatever you think. But we just have to be able to calibrate on the same level, if that makes sense. So my white peach tastes like your white peach, but if you wanted to throw in Lychee or a different fruit from your country, I remember somebody I heard this one time, somebody had said, oh, I think there’s Lychee on this. And somebody who is, I think from Thailand said, well what variety of Lychee is it? wouldn’t that be amazing for all of us to say oh actually it’s this specific type of each year. Yes. This isn’t right. And it’s so funny because we’ll say Oh Red Apple versus green apple. Well maybe we’ll all start trying more diverse foods so that we can be articulate and these other types of experimental pairings and stuff that’s being brought into our generation.

[00:36:51] I think that would be supercool, would be it would be even some of my clients, they will offer some of the taste in the eyes and try to speak to one client. And, you know, he you know, he’s got an amazing collection, a lots of one hundred point scoring wines. And a lot of them he does. He would love to go. What is this wine made of this time? Indian pot pourri or crushed rocks or cigar box or saddle leather, I assume?

[00:37:20] Yeah, you laugh and it does sound a bit absurd. But these these critics are paid good money to give their opinion and the opinion is valued for a reason, you know, but like I like you.

[00:37:35] So I go on going, oh no. I’m just saying, like, as long as we’re all speaking the same vocabulary, you can say whatever you want.

[00:37:42] You know, that’s really the beauty of it. So how’s our industry becomes more diverse? We will have a more diverse group of people, vocabulary, foods, wines that will just all expand.

[00:37:56] Definitely. Definitely. All right. Well, onto the more fun questions, I suppose, to pick of one of your last answers that with your friend over in Brooklyn from the Caribbean, obviously wanting to look pair that food with us and wines, obviously you had your you had your song that you touched upon earlier, cabernet and caviar. Oh.

[00:38:22] What are some of the parings, by the way, just for anybody watching or listening, if I can imagine something you can do, it’s the greatest item, in my opinion.

[00:38:34] Oh, what what would you actually prefer with caviar? Would it would it be would it be blue beluga vodka? Would it be maybe champagne or maybe a shot?

[00:38:44] High acid white. I think it’s high acid and white. So champagne could work. I mean, you could even do like an alligator from Burgundy. Do whatever you want Chef and Bong. Like, who cares. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and I don’t know, you can probably do with the red. You maybe like a really light red. I don’t know, Beaujolais Pinot Noir. Yeah, yeah. Yeah exactly. Cangemi me or something. I’m so many options. Yeah. I don’t know that I would do that though because again they’re still tanon and so Tanen the, the bitterness in the skins of the grapes, there’s chemical that reacts with fish oil and it actually creates a really gross like it’s an actual thing that combines and it’s absolutely disgusting. It’s a it’s a really bad, almost like rotten flavour. That’s and and so that’s why I say it’s the greatest sin, because you buy this thousand dollar bottle of cabernet sauvignon and you get this two hundred dollar caviar and you put it together and it creates the most gross combination ever.

[00:39:41] There are better ways of spending money if you’re going to have the food and wine.

[00:39:46] But aside from the caviar, what are some of the more bizarre pairings you’ve been a witness to?

[00:39:57] Bizarre, like bad or good or bad?

[00:40:01] Both want to. Not both.

[00:40:03] You know what I love with pizza. I just love Barbera and pizza. That’s just my favourite thing ever. And I don’t know. What do I mean? What do I do? I drink this week.

[00:40:12] Oh, I mean, I know this is kind of like been done, but demeanour and Indian food. I actually tried it the other day because Bergström are super powerful, kind of like spicy, like honey ness from all sorts. It’s just like delicious and paired with really fragrant Indian cuisine with Kuman. And it’s brilliant together because with Indian food it’s very intense. Like you can usually smell it when you’re in the room and demeanour is something that matches it and intensity. And so when you put them together, it was actually super brilliant. I tried it with my friend Olivia the other day and I was like, this is great, good parent.

[00:40:52] That’s good. What about what about. Because obviously, you know, my partner should always cook a lot of Southeast Asian food, again, being from the Philippines. And, you know, there’s a lot of talk about Rieslings being part of a Southeast Asian food. What would you say? That’s just more of a a myth rather than a facts, or would you say that’s more a matter of opinion rather than the facts? Or would you say that is it going to?

[00:41:16] I have a very broad, different way of pairing food and wine. It’s one of my favourite things to talk about, actually, because, you know, basically pairing food and wine is like decorating an apartment. Right. And there’s big pieces of furniture that the food and the wine bring. Right. So the wine brings a certain level of acid, for instance, or sugar. And then the the food brings charred, barbecued, whatever the method of preparation is, these big things. And so really, as long as the pieces of furniture kind of work together in the room, all the. The aroma is all of the other nuances of the wine or the food are kind of like decorations, if that makes sense. They’re not like like superimportant to the actual structure. So I believe that there’s millions of different wines for one single dish, whereas some people are like, no Shibly and oysters only. Right. And I’m not like that. I think you can do whatever and it doesn’t matter. And sometimes if it doesn’t work, you just use you just drink water in between. But I have really never been like, oh, this is disgusting. This doesn’t work together, you know what I mean? I don’t care. And I feel like it’s much more enjoyable and it gives people the reigns to be able to make choices, make mistakes and just try new things. And so for a lot of Southeast Asian food, like if there’s I know some Filipino really great pork dishes, I love Riesling with pork because it’s high acid and it cuts through that fat. But you could simultaneously you could do something I say, like you can either balance or accentuate the dish. So if you had a high acid Riesling that cuts through the fat of the pork, that would be that would be like balancing it. Right, because you’re like cancelling them out. But you could also accentuate the dish. So maybe you get something that’s big and vicious and wide, like a chardonnay with. Oh, right. Who knows. Who knows what’ll happen. Right. You just get to try new things. And it’s funny because sometimes the balance, you know, pairing is the one that people liked the most and sometimes it’s the accentuate version. And it really you just have to play around with it.

[00:43:17] Yeah, definitely. Definitely. All right. And obviously we were speaking before, you know, via social media. And I remember I also said, oh, have you have you ever been to the U.K.? Have you ever been to London? And you mentioned you hadn’t yet. Once there is some normality in the world, we are allowed to travel. Would you ever come over to London? Yeah, of course.

[00:43:41] Are you kidding me? Everybody is so nice. And I love going out with you guys all the time.

[00:43:46] I feel smarter just being on this podcast with you right now. I do. I swear.

[00:43:52] This is the last episode of the podcast. Now, because of you, you’ve really you’ve really massage my ego there. Thank you so much.

[00:43:58] But no, we honestly, because we up until when lockdown happened, we had we had Adrian Hoffman, who flew in purposely to a podcast of us, and we had an intimate taste in the Ivy in Richmond. And it was amazing. We do regular wine tasting events. And obviously, if you are to come over, you know, would you be open to doing something like that with our clients, giving us something like a wine and food pairing like Masterclass?

[00:44:32] Of course. I mean, I’m always happy to do that if I’m over there. Dude, you’re going to see me for sure. We’ve been friends for a few years. Like, you know, I really believe that on social media, you kind of attract your own tribe. And I’m very open about how weird I am.

[00:44:47] And so I feel like a similar type of weirdness is attracted to me, like, you know, I mean, we’re both like even though we might be very different and you might be a little bit more intelligent and articulate and stuff like that, you know, we’re still of the same vein and of the same mission and creating accessibility and getting people into it. And so I always try to make an effort to see people whenever I go places. I’ve never been to Europe because I was born in Japan, and so I would always go back home to Japan to visit my family. And so I’ve literally never gone to Europe. So I’ve been in New Zealand.

[00:45:22] But that’s the only really cool place I’ve gone to, is anywhere within Europe that you would like to go aside from, say, London.

[00:45:31] I mean, you know, I’m still hopeful. Yeah, but everything it’s hard to choose. I I’ll get there eventually. That’s why I think, you know, having an online business was where I was part of the appeal for me, too, because I really like to travel and I like to to go places. And so right now I think I’m just grinding building the community here. And then I would love to move over and build the community and other places and hang out and do fun stuff, you know. But yeah, I’m always I would totally be down to hang out with all of you guys.

[00:46:01] That’s perfect function. Obviously, going back to you’re not sure I that entrepreneurial attitude. I wanted to make those changes. You know, you mentioned recently you read a lot of books, most notably, you know, or recently, should I say, who moved my cheese, what was a six page fable.

[00:46:28] But it’s a great mindset. Mindset. Yeah.

[00:46:31] Classic is a classic. And I’ve just finished read them one by a Dr. Wayne Dyer. I can see clearly now that that’s a game changer. Would that would just change change your outlook completely, you know. But yeah. For you a for yourself. What are some of your other. Was, I suppose, which helps keep you grounded, helps keep you focussed and helps allow you when we’re dealing with adversity, to continue to push through. Aside from, you know, the reading, would it be exercise based? Would it be the outlook on your life? How do you approach life, I suppose?

[00:47:09] Well, we get up before we get off the book thing, I just want to say Blue Fishing by Steve Sims and the four hour workweek week. So good blue fishing and the four hour work week by Tim Ferriss. I’m a really big proponent of outsourcing. And that means that doesn’t mean just to another country. That means outsourcing the things that I’m not good at. And so what I do is I rate the things that I do on a scale of one to 10 on how much I hate them and the things that are rated the highest I let other people do because I want to leverage my strengths instead of focussing on my weaknesses. Because what happens with me is I will get so stressed because I am not using my time efficiently and I’m wasting too much of emotional space in my brain and heart and mind, trying to do things that I suck at. And so every day when I feel stressed, because ultimately I’ve never been as busy as I am, I mean, I have I feel like I get I do get probably five hundred miles a day based on all the core sign ups or notifications with that, of course, completions. You know, like I get a lot of emails every day and a lot of requests from people that I don’t want to miss. And and honestly, sometimes I have these breakdowns where I get overwhelmed and I miss things. And so it’s constantly I think about refining as I’m growing. I need to expand the way that I organise that I need to do. And also I sit for an hour every morning without my phone. I take one hour every morning and I get up early. So like 6:00 a.m. ish. And I do not look at my phone for an hour because I want to wake up and have peace before I start seeing emails from the East Coast.

[00:48:51] All right. I just and just lastly again.

[00:48:56] Yeah, I’m very envious of of a lot of the ones you’ve been able to to deal with yourself. And I’ve seen, you know, sample. But is there is there one, I suppose is on that bucket list, whether it’s a specific brand or, you know, from a specific region and a specific vintage here that you’re like, OK, this is like I suppose you’re I’ve made it moment, not literally OK, you know, whoopee do I’m done now. But you’re like, this is why I got involved in this in the first place.

[00:49:27] Yeah, I very clearly I fifty nine Haut Brion and sixty one Margaux. I had them at the same time. Somebody gifted them to Wolfgang. Actually it was his birthday I think, and they had me open it. They were serving it and they told me of course like taste it. And I, I cried because I never liked Bordeaux. I was opposite from me. I tasted all this Bordeaux, you know, because that’s Spago. People would bring in all of their collectable wines, which was really awesome. But I just didn’t, you know, younger Bordeaux. It’s cool, you know. Eighty two Lafite. Oh, OK. Like, it was good, but it wasn’t like like so passionate. I could see how it’s very good to know shade to that producer or anything, but it’s more about like I didn’t I didn’t fully get it and then I got it when I had, you know, sixty one Margaux I felt like. Wow, like this is what wine is like, and this is why people like Bordeaux so much. This is why they hold it, because it was on a completely different level. I really did like that. It’s here like I just I just had to go.

[00:50:34] I can relate. I can relate. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So. All right. So for me, my Grace, one was the Penfold’s Grange 2008. You know, the. Oh, yeah, yeah. That was the I was I was fortunately fortunate enough that Robert Parker was actually doing a tour of of Europe back in twenty fourteen. And so he was at this major fine wine shop called Hedonism Wines, which I will take you to when you do come over. You would you would love it. And you got sample several, you know, 100 point scoring wines. And the Penfold’s Grange 2008 for me was just it’s just you. I still remember it. So to say this really well, once it’s ingrained, it’s ingrained, you know, and it’s really good. But all right. Just just lastly, then, you mentioned, of course, Bordeaux. I not exactly here Mishu, but it’s not. Yes, it’s Bordeaux. What for you is your your go to region?

[00:51:35] Oh, that’s so hard, honestly. Well, I can tell you some lines that I like, OK, well, I really enjoy Alsace just in general. I think it’s so complex and just beautiful and everything. I just I usually like it, not always make me happy shots enough if I just am having you know, I don’t really like very tanneke heavy reds for the most part, like in the right scenario. Sure. But if I’m just like enjoying on my day off, you know, I just usually don’t I think it just has to do with pilot fatigue a little bit because it’s just heavy. But Torbreck Run Rig, one of my favourite wines. It’s Aissue Shiraz from Barossa, and it is ridiculously good if you have not had it. I highly recommend it immediately. I only like group of wines that I have in my fridge right now that I really don’t touch. Really, really, really like. I would cry if somebody opened them because aged Torbreck is insanely good. If you like Aussie Shiraz you got to do it.

[00:52:34] Cristie, you’re you’re preaching to the converted honestly. Right. This is like. Can you sorry. Excuse to see those, the boxes that’s already on the ground with you. Could you open up. Could you open.

[00:52:45] Literally. This is an empty bottle. I don’t know sir, but it’s not the Run Rig, it’s the Laird.

[00:52:52] But I know Torbreck Run RIg is amazing. It is insane. It’s beautiful. And well we’ve got a box here which I don’t think we can be open, but it’s the Struie still Torbreck, but still no torok. Absolutely nuts. Yeah. Yeah. You have a great time when you come here. Honestly, you you will leave with a few bottles as well, that’s for sure. That’s fine. Christie, I want to say honestly. Massive, massive. Thank you for joining us. Honestly, really appreciate you’ve got a lot going on. I said you take some time to obviously do this with us. Really. Thank you. Whatever we can do to help support your causes, we will definitely, you know, do for you as well. I just want to say thank you very much. And for those who are interested in any online wine courses, feel free to click on the links that we will we will be providing. Be educational, be fun. You got to drink some great wine. And more importantly, he will have more confidence when we’re allowed back into the restaurant. So thank you very much for joining us.

Zoran Ristanovic joins us on The Cult and Boutique Show.

We caught up with Zoran Ristanovic, Managing Director and Wine Buyer for Richmond-based City Wine Collection, who dropped by to tell us about growing up in Bosnia, viticulture & winemaking. Zoran also shared his opinions on Bordeaux En Primeur, spotting future wine superstars and the importance of provenance.

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Cult and Boutique (00:00):
Hi there. Welcome to the Cult and Boutique Show, uh, with us today is a guest who happens to be a
neighbour of ours. Um, his name is Zoran. He works for sissy wine collections, and he’s here to join me
today on a very beautiful day here in Richmond. So, uh, thank you for joining us Zoren. How are you

Zoran (00:17):
All good. All good. Keep rock and rolling.

Cult and Boutique (00:19):
That’s what we do originally. That’s what we do best makes the best music. So, um, view your, you are
the owner now of City Wine Collection, is that correct? Yes. Yes. Um, obviously here in
Richmond and obviously before we really get into your journey, um, to City Wine Collections your
journey in wine began in the early to mid-1990s didn’t it?

Zoran (00:43):
Uh, it began when I was five.

Cult and Boutique (00:45):
Wow! So a while before that?

Zoran (00:50):
One of the first memories I’ve got is my granddad smuggling, a glass of wine with a bit of water in and sugar
under the table for me. So my mum wouldn’t see. Um, so yeah, there’s, uh, mom’s, family’s from, uh,
Croatian close from Dalmatia. So the wine is it’s like in Italy, it’s it’s on the table everyday to, it was it’s
part of existence. Um, then eventually I went to university, studied viticulture, wine growing, um, and
uh, long story short, uh, needed a proficiency in English for a job in genetics in viticulture back home, uh,
came to London to get proficiency and, uh, they blew up the country. So I got stuck here.

Cult and Boutique (01:32):
And here we are.

Zoran (01:35):
So then I worked for various different people. I was very fortunate. I worked for Stones there Belgravia,
which was at the time, the best wine shop in UK, uh, in Pont Street, which got taken over by Jeroboams.
Um, then from there I worked for Rackham’s where I was running their shop in a city, which I later to
con uh, from there, I went to run Roberson in Kensington High Street when it was the best wine shop in the
country. Uh, and then, uh, started on my own in 95. And since 95 I’ve been running my own thing,
mainly running private clients, sellers, um, managing portfolios and stuff like that. So the shop is really,
uh, an office and a showroom. Um, it’s not your standard retail.

Cult and Boutique (02:19):
No, it is beautiful

Zoran (02:29):
We don’t do spirits and no Coca Cola, cigarettes, no crisps

Cult and Boutique
No, waters down. The quality of what we do, doesn’t it.

Better to be good, basically, to be good at something.

Cult and Boutique (02:32):
Of course I agree. Yeah. Massively Musk and obviously growing up, he was in Serbia. You grew up Kratz I
grew up in Bosnia and Bosnia, sorry. Okay. Boston half curled from Bosnia. Right. Okay. And obviously
when people think of wine, usually Bosnia and Arizona are not often associated with wine as such. So

Zoran (02:58):
The Northern part, no, it’s more fruit, um, spirits, like [inaudible] type of thing, but it has to go over and
it has a massive wine region, uh, all Yugoslavia that was when I was growing up. And that was at the
time 10th, largest wine producer in the world. Wow. So we’ve, we’ve had the wines in a SaaS or Serbia
and in our genetic code, certainly before they even thought of it in burgundy. Wow. Well, way before.

Cult and Boutique (03:22):
I mean that I still make an, um,

Zoran (03:26):
There’s tons of wines styles. Our styles have changed, but yeah, there’s, there’s plenty of wine over
there. The problem is that for many, many years, the concept of production was to produce a lot of
drinkable stuff. Right. Quite good for up. So when I was at university, really the, the, the basic
methodology was how to produce as much juice from as little land as you can. I diluting it. Uh, so it took
me a long time to understand the concept of how to make a high quality wine. But once you kind of get
a good grounding in how to grow the vineyards, then eventually it gets to be standard. So I have worked
in, in Bordeaux, I’ve worked in Spain, I’ve consulted on the wineries in New Zealand. I’ve designed a
couple of wineries in Serbia in the last 10 years.

Cult and Boutique (04:18):
How was that? How would those projects go?

Zoran (04:20):
Well, the, the ones in Serbia are doing very well, uh, both, uh, but they both owned. They’re both owned
by students who were at my university because I was supposed to stay at university, um, after getting
my English proficiency to teach and genetics and so on. Um, so yeah, the good guys, but the market is
still local. People who have enough money will buy psychiatrists. Uh, they will not buy local wines. So
the local market is still dominated by reasonable quality. Quality is a better than 20 years ago, but it’s
still not something that could be presented to the world. Certainly not at the prices that locally could be

Cult and Boutique (05:02):
Sure, sure. I mean, to be honest, we was at the Robert Parker’s matter of tastes and they do this tour
across Southeast Asia, America, um, parts of Europe, mainly like Geneva and Paris. And then of course,
London and I believe

Zoran (05:19):
I had three wineries or the last one in London,

Cult and Boutique (05:21):
I was going to say there was one we went to in 2016 at the Saatchi gallery and actually had some
Serbian wine there as an example where it was even for myself, because I had like so many different
countries that I didn’t even know were producing wine. That was my ignorance. You know, when we
went and we tried it and it was phenomenal. And even when I went to, I went to had aneurysm wines, I
believe back in 2014, Robert Park jr. Um, had came to London for the first time and either 20 or 25
years. And he was, um, you know, there were tickets to be able to meet Parker and get like a signature
of, from his new lifestyle magazine, a hundred points. And if you bought up a VIP ticket, you got 90 Dom
Perignon, uh, when you arrived, but you got sampled 10 different 100 point wines, which included one,
uh, Serbian, I believe it was a dessert wine. I believe it was a dessert wine. It was, uh, six years ago
before I knew there was a Serbian one done. I don’t want to lean towards ABM, dessert, wine,

Zoran (06:21):
Not aware of Serbian ones, a hundred points, but yeah,

Cult and Boutique (06:24):
Yeah, it could be. Yeah. So they’re out there, they’re out there. That’s for sure.

Zoran (06:29):
The Southern part of Serbia is on the level where the climatic conditions are very similar to burgundy,
uh, possibly slightly better. Um, the soil and the, the land makeup is almost identical to Boden. They
actually took, um, Bernard rappel who now runs a [inaudible]. He was at the time MD of a shadow, uh,
article 15 years ago. Now, um, over there, they were looking to expand to get some land because in the
land is it’s, it’s made for Pinot noir and Chardonnay. The problem is that, um, again, that takes a lot of
work market. Can’t pay the prices, uh, but there’s a local grape writer called Praca butts, which, uh, is, I
would say somewhere between Pinot noir and Grown-ish in, when it’s well made. And that is, uh, in my
books, that is the best thing that, that they could do to promote what they do, making another Merle or
shadow. So when your blonde is just going to be another one in the sea of Chardonnays and mellows,
so, uh, but yeah, there’s, there’s plenty of stuff to do, essentially what needs to happen. My generation
needs to die. Um, because companies are now run by my generation and we were trained to produce as
much juice as we possibly can bring it to the winery. And then a chemist in the winery will make a

Cult and Boutique (07:52):
So is it more like the beliefs of yesteryear, which is what the problem?

Zoran (07:55):
Well, my generation needs to retire and gets removed from, from the management positions within the
large companies that make wine, new kids need to take over and just it’s slowly happening. It’s the
progress in the last 10, 15 years has been enormous. It’s like multiples of hundreds and per year.

Cult and Boutique (08:12):
That’s very interesting. You say that because of course we all know about how many Southeast Asian
collapses there are for a lot of fine wine and wine in general, as well of champagne. And we know
they’re moving on to some of the whiskeys as well, even though they’re trying to climatize their palates
Wars, Xs obviously is very high in alcohol, but of course, you’ve got Louis Vuitton, Moet Hennessy,
they’ve created AOL young, which has become quite a figure piece in the luxury brand world. And, you
know, James [inaudible], um, website, James suckling.com recently done, I think, five or 10 Bordeaux,
some of the best ways to clear the shots at a feet Rothschild, um, versus five or 10, uh, Chinese wines
and the blind tasting and the Chinese wine has happened to, um, rival, uh, lots of the Bordeaux’s in
some of these blind taste and similar to like the judgment of Paris. Do you feel that’s what it would take,
say like a conglomerate lightly with it’s on my Hennessy to go back to help bring up the quality of what’s
being produced, um, you know, back there, you know, back in the motherland, or do you think it just
takes someone with the right initiative? Like I said, that young generation that more right. I can make
this a better version of burgundy or a better version of, um, Australian Grenache or something like that,

Zoran (09:32):
The young generation, for sure. Sure. LVMH and the likes will just, it’s just going to be another cheap
land, cheap labor for them that they’re never going to try to produce quality. They’re just going to try
and produce something that will have a cheap source. Having said it with the predicted over supply of
the wine in the next couple of years, I don’t think anyone’s going to be aiming in that direction. That is
China is different because in China you do have, there’s more billionaires in China then than people with
a hundred euros in their pocket in Serbia, actually, it’s probably more billionaires than a whole
population of Serbia. Um, so yeah, they not going to be chasing small vineyard in Serbia summer. It’s
not, it doesn’t have a prestige that burgundy has. It doesn’t have a prestige. The Tuscany has, uh,
infrastructure is not there yet in terms of roads and hotels.

Zoran (10:20):
And so on most of those places, um, where if you go to where the best vineyards are, it’s similar to, let’s
say Ribera Del Duero 20 years ago. I remember when I first started going, you’re the nearest hotel to any
RAF reasonable winery was about two hours drive, um, things change and are changing. And, uh, but
yeah, I, the only thing that’s going to happen, and there’s a couple of very good guys, um, that are
progressing very fast, uh, as, uh, one guy, um, just outside Aleksandra Watts, which is a local, uh, region
who was, uh, a doctor of wine technology at university of Belgrade in Zimmerman. Who’s now moved,
left his job and moved to the family farm and started new winery. Um, so there’s going to be, there’s
going to be things coming from there, but again, the winery is currently being built.

Zoran (11:12):
Um, the vineyards are currently being rejigged into the pie quality production, but he knows very well
what he’s doing. And, um, I would say five to 10 years time, there will be some seriously good stuff
coming out of that. Um, they’re not the Serbs, as in general, are not very good at PR. They tend to be
kind of very proud people. I’m half soap, half cried. So I know, I know both sides of the side of the cone.
They’re, um, they tend to produce what they produce, but in a way they’re kind of like a burgundy from
30 years ago. Right. I remember when I started going to burgundy first, most of the mains you’d go into,
unless you to NIGOs, which is all about selling the large volumes of this stuff, you’re going to say, okay,
this is what I make. That’s it, you like it, you like it. And I like it. I like it. This is what I make. They’re not
going to bend backwards and try to try to produce something that will sell, they produce what they
produce. Right. So it will take a bit of time for someone to start discovering that and then being able to
present it to journalists or whoever it may be, who will throw some light at it. But it’s potentially is
there. I think there’s going to be lots of there, uh, while I’m still able to drink.

Cult and Boutique (12:28):
Well, that’s, that’s the most important thing for sure. They’re very good. And, um, moving on, obviously
this wine collection started in 2000 and free.

Zoran (12:38):
Uh, the shop was opened in 2003, uh, under city wine collection, but I joined in 95 with Norman
gardener, who was my partner at the time, um, when I left Robeson, uh, which was 95. And then we
opened a shop by that time we took over three restaurants to manage. Uh, so we had, um, essentially
costumes that needed to supply and stock to come in and tastings to be done. And so on. And this little
place, which I used to manage for Rackham’s came up, um, at least came up. So I took that. Um, but
yeah, it was, it was, uh, I’ve got, uh, 20 square meters, nothing. Uh, but I, yeah, I mean, I still had, at the
time I had about six, seven vintages of Sasakawa on the, on the shelf, I had three or four vintages of all
the syndromes because we had a full set of first growth.

Zoran (13:27):
The whole lot as a one wall was just on pairing. And in crook, you’re in the middle of a city. What else
are you going to do? Of course, in those days you could kind of, you could still get those things, but the
main, uh, the main prospect, the main main activity of the business is running private sellers for people,
but not for the traditional, uh, Barry brothers clients, or high-end collectors. It’s more for, uh, let’s say
self-made people who are quite happy to trust their own pallets, rather than journalists pilots, Notting
to do against journalists. They have a, they do exceptional job.

Cult and Boutique (14:03):
So passion, then they

Zoran (14:05):
Follow what they like. They’re quite happy for someone to find it for them to recommend it. Right. So
the entire business was if you want, if you want to abbreviated who would be finding a future superstars
before they become anything. So I started buying sassy, Kaia and tinea Nella in 96 vintage. So, uh, 98 by
palette. Wow. And not an Alaya from 98 vintage. So we still have some stock original stock from, I sort of
have a bit of Oh one or, and I left.

Cult and Boutique (14:36):
Imagine if you had the [inaudible], that would have been [inaudible].

Zoran (14:41):
Uh, but it’s um, so that’s, that’s what I try to do for content, but you haven’t been back there. I’ve
started buying in 99 and we started selling in 2009. And again, there was a couple of policy. Yeah.

Cult and Boutique (14:55):
So bonds are Ponce County for, I mean, it’s adjacent to shadow moose on Rothschild. And for me offers
such great value for money even in today’s prices for what you would pay

Zoran (15:07):
Well enough. The first time I bought upon Titanic was, uh, in 2001 99 was being presented. I was driving
out of Mouton after tasting to preoc tasting, and I saw a car driving into punter County. So turn around,
drove behind it. Um, uh, just to ask a couple of questions as it turned out, alpha Tessa and came out and
I came out of black death, um, slightly bigger than offered. Um, and I said, sorry, I don’t want to scare
you, but just want to, re-ask the question. Why is it that you have a better terror and Mouton because
the slope that they have is better than Natanz. Why is it that Ponti is not producing better wines? And
he said, Oh, well, you need to come. So basically dropped everything and took me in. And we had a good
hour tour, just him and me and the winery.

Zoran (15:51):
They were going screaming for wine back from that from the day I think tasting was because in those
days they did everything together. I think it was in baseball or someone like that. Um, and, um, I kind of
took a pant on it. Uh, the wine was showing better on 99 and, but the energy behind him and what he
showed me, he is doing what he’s going to do. Cause he took over in 91, I think. So by then it started
showing, um, that was the first winter that I bought. And then actually one of the negatives that I was
working, where it didn’t have the location. So I got Alfred to give them a location, especially for me. So
he knew the stock is for me. And then, uh, yeah, we bought until well until the 2013, pretty much every
vintage, anywhere between 70 and a hundred, hundred and 50 cases.

Cult and Boutique (16:43):
Wow. That’s a lot,

Zoran (16:46):
I’m still still have a fair bit of punter candidates. Um, I’m, I’m happy,

Cult and Boutique (16:50):

Zoran (16:52):
Some of it, but, um, but th the thing that I do, and this is the rule that sets, um, I only ever buy on promo
for the boarder. I don’t buy anything in a secondary market. Uh, all the other stuff I buy on release
through UK agents until I, unless I can get it directly from the winery. Um, if I, if I ship through an agent,
then like, if I take pallet of Sasakawa sometimes because I’ll take up a parcel with Alberto, then I would
ship myself rather than them. So all the stock we have is, and that’s one of the things that I insist on. Not
no auctions, no second hands, no everything has to be

Cult and Boutique (17:31):

Zoran (17:31):
And I think as we go forward, that aspect will be more and more important than, than what is on the
label. So, um, yeah, I’m quite happy with what we holding at the moment, uh, with offering numbers
about, but those are depending on whether you look at it in a current market cost is somewhere in a bit,
but two and a half million under management. Um, but the future is, uh, so, uh, you know, Dustin has
already found, I don’t think anything in Tuscany will hit the levels of sasikala and Elia 10 and Ella pergola
torture. I’ve always had an issue with bought a few years, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t work for me. I don’t, I
still, I still assist that everything gets sent to me as a sample. Yes. Um, we tasted normal tastings, but I
pay for the samples to be sent to the shop. Uh, I tend to any of the new wines. I tend to look over three
days, so we get them in and let them rest for a day or two open in the morning, tastes in the morning,
evening next morning, next evening. And next morning to see the development. And that’s when I made
an offer or not as the case might be. Um, so I I’m no, not my gate.

Cult and Boutique (18:40):
Okay. Okay. Well, as a matter of opinion, that’s the great thing about why some, like it don’t,

Zoran (18:46):
But that the critics are very useful, but whenever I make an offer, uh, there’s my review. And then
there’s a link to critics reviews. If anybody wants to read them, to me, the issue is that someone buys a
case of wine from me and I say, drink it in 10 years time. And we deliver it in 10 years time. And they
don’t like it. They can call me and say, take this back because this is not what I expected. And I would
take it back. They cannot call Suckling or Parker. Anyone say, Oh, you, you gave this so many points in

Cult and Boutique (19:16):
A new set. Fair enough. So

Zoran (19:19):
I stand behind everyone and therefore we don’t buy, I don’t buy anything because it’s sellable. I buy
things because they’re good.

Cult and Boutique (19:27):
So you’ve kind of answered that. One of the questions I was going to ask, which again, I was going to
ask, you know, what kind of clientele you tend to attract still with, you know, whether it be more
enthusiastic, collapses, novices, et cetera. And it sounds without presuming that it is more people, right.
Zuora, and I know what I want. I know what I’m after. I know I can rely on you. What have you,

Zoran (19:48):
It’s mainly the people who know what they want. If they call me and say, I’ll get me a case or two a day.
So I’ll just try it in restaurant. Um, if I don’t, if it’s not something that I already buy or recommend, it will
be, I would send an email back and I keep them just in case they call back in five years time, uh, as they
did, um, yes, no problem to get it, but it doesn’t cover my recommendation. So if you read about it, if
you tried it, you like it. No problem. But, uh, the stuff that comes with my recommendation, I stand
behind fully. Um, most of the people would be people who want to learn about who I, not people who
want to have a massive collections understood, and people want to drink decent wine and relevant
what it says on the label. Understood. Understood. Um, so, and for most of the new regions or the new
wineries, if you think Tuscany 20, 30 years ago, Bulgari until 92 Cecilia was table wine, it takes for the
new region 20 to 30 years to become Bulgari, uh, obviously with advance of internet and other things,
it’s going to be spit sped up. Um, but I, I always look for another place where things are being
developed. So, and my guys tend to follow what I say because they know they’re going to get a decent
bottle of wine.

Cult and Boutique (21:06):
That’s the most important thing. Absolutely

Zoran (21:08):
Idea is in principle to, instead of getting a one case of wine for yourself to drink, you buy four and then
five, 10 years later, we sell three for what you paid for four, you’ll get more than that. So in reality, once
you put a decent infrastructure together, you get to drink for free for the rest of your life.

Cult and Boutique (21:26):

Zoran (21:28):
So that’s, that’s, that’s pretty much what it is. So my job, uh, it’s, it’s a buying based business rather than
selling based business. I spend 80% of my time in tastings in traveling, which is difficult at the moment,
um, and buying so for the border and promoted this year, I send the first review saying on until I get
samples, I can’t make any offers. Uh, we had samples sent for most of the shutters that I worked with
for many years. So I didn’t manage to taste most of the things.

Cult and Boutique (21:55):
I’m glad you brought that up because I saw that you, um, you covered 2019 on prem. Uh, to some
extent we were massively behind on pro is the first one promo campaign in several years while we
fought, okay, great price, reductions, great quality throughout. And we sought out generally across the
board, decent scores. I know, obviously you’re not big on the scores per se, but of course, because of
our business setup, we do rely a lot on that as well. Um, but of course the price in is also, you know, very
important. And I think across the board, there was an average of around a 20 to 30% reduction
compared to, to 20 eighteens. And we had a successful campaign, our clients massive with open arms.
How did you find this one? My team campaigns be overall. Once we overcame the challenges,

Zoran (22:46):
Um, it, it turned out much better than I thought it would be. Um, again, the wines that I recommended
and on the final email that went out, uh, all other than a maniac, which was not sending samples. So
Mouton team was on sending samples were based on the samples that came to the shop and got tasted
some of them, uh, that I normally follow such as [inaudible] he had samples twice. They were not good
enough. So I said, no, go, um, [inaudible] was disappointing. I know he’d got 99 points. My comments
were, I’m not buying because sample that I had was not up to standard. Um, things like be Sean, come
tests, uh, we’re fine. I don’t really have an issue. Um, I’m not necessarily that much behind the concept
of price reduction compared to 18, because I think 18 is, were way over priced. And I think that the
product reduction in price in 19 doesn’t quite reach where it should have been for a lot of properties.
[inaudible], um, Ponta, can I be in another one? Um, but, uh, we bought, we bought a lot, I bought 1200
bottles of Tableau, for example,

Cult and Boutique (24:02):
As I said, that’s definitely a favor. And I think if you look at a 10 year perspective, though, we’ve, we’ve
had, the prices were for this year is on promote promoter campaign on reflection, I think could
represent good value for money. My opinion is because once we get some more continuity across the
world in 2020 or 2021, what usually happens with Bordeaux since the 2009 campaign and the 2010
campaign when their prices on promoter was, it was stupid. Let’s be honest because again, especially
because they saw the influence of Southeast Asia and they thought, right, we’re going to just make a
quick buck here next year is on promote is going to be quite expensive. I almost know because they’re
already saying that 2020 has been a phenomenal year, but again, with the price reduction is what
they’ve been able to do. They’ve been able to bring people in, but that’s why I think when they start
really surprises next year, they’re not going to w we’re not going to see similar prices.

Cult and Boutique (25:04):
What we saw for this year is on promo campaign and fats, I reckon we’ll see 10 50 and 18% increase
compared to what we saw for this year. And that’s where they’re going to start to revert back to their
old selves, because maybe economically the world is going to be used to this new norm that we’re
having to adjust to. And so in that typical ways, I hate to say it, but it’s true. Even when the first team
was about Vince Jair, 14 was mediocre 15 was really good, but as an excuse to bump the price up again,
16 was really good as a Vince jet, but again, an additional price reduction 17. And I say again, that’s why
I think 2019 in probably 10 years time would represent good value for money.

Zoran (25:43):
Uh, yes, for sure. Um, uh, even sooner than 10 years time, uh, but I’m not, uh, I’m not convinced that
2020 will go up in the price that much, which we’ll see. Um, there’s an issue, uh, some of the top wines
potentially. Yes. Um, but the, uh, the border plus has a lot of stock chateaus have a lot of stocks. So, so,
um, at some point liquidity has to come into it. And one of the, my view on, on a lot of those things,
which is probably very controversial to majority of the fine wine trade, but, uh, I think that the reason
why they can maintain the price increases at the Chateau today do is more to do with the fact that they
can borrow money at 0%, as much as they want. So, and they can borrow money because border
exchange operates as a, as a stock exchange, if Chateau, blah, blah, blah.

Zoran (26:41):
Let’s not name names. Yeah. Can sell 500 bottles or 5,000 bottles on a border. Plus at hundreds euros a
bottle, they can basically borrow against all the stock remaining stock at that price level at 0%. Right. So
why would they sell it to you and me at 70, if they can get 0% interest on the a hundred. Right. And I
think that’s why they’ve managed to get the, the, the shortage of supply to the marketplace, you know,
hiking, uh, uh, any of the, of the great shutters. Let’s not list any of them can run a business. It was
released in 20 or 30% of the stock.

Cult and Boutique (27:24):
Yeah, my account, they couldn’t pre 2008. No, no, no. That hold them back more than 11. This is.

Zoran (27:32):
Yeah. But that’s because they can borrow money to represent against the stock.

Cult and Boutique (27:37):
You may not want to ask this question, but you furnace why, and again, so I’ll ask it to Jeff. And that’s
why I shattered the tour, made that move.

Zoran (27:45):
Charlottesville made a move before we knew that Chateau was holding stock, but Shatara Toon. Who’s
owned by one of the richest people in the world. And he and the business is run by accountants and
accountant and say, hang on. Average price for shuttle at auto market is 300. Why are we selling for
180? Because we need to know we have tons of money and people who are the, the credit mutual
boards or 55% of [inaudible] was a reasonable value of 35 to 40 on the release. Then I recently 75, if you
go to Craig’s mutual and say, well, listen, you know, we, we actually need to be selling this at three. Why
we getting money from people? Our job is to invest the money. We don’t know what to do with money.
Why would be giving a 30% discount to the stock? Absolutely. Um, and that’s where it sits as long as
they can be, as long as they are in a situation to borrow at those levels, there is no reason.

Zoran (28:43):
And then it becomes a bit of an ego issue over there. Who’s gonna outbid whom in terms of how you
price your stock. So, you know, for shatter, if, if the two shadows on a similar level of recognition, again,
let’s not name names, but let’s say one of them comes out at a hundred euros and doesn’t sell either
one comes out at 85 and sells everything. Then he can say, when they sit together, you see, I understand
the market better than you. Yes. It’s done a numbers game. Um, to me, again, it still boils down to, I buy
on behalf of my clients. I don’t sell to them. I get given most of the campaigns. I get given a budget by
clients. When I come back from Bordeaux, I send a report saying, this is what I think, so, okay. We’ll try
to put in. So they’ll give me whatever that may be five, 10, 15, 20, sometimes more than that. And I buy
to that budget on their behalf. I don’t sell individual. Some people would just pick off bits and pieces, but
those are mainly drinkers who take them one case of this, one case of that. Uh, most of the others, I
would put together a structure. So I’d know before the wind started coming out on the market, I know
how much money I’ve got in a kitty to spend.

Cult and Boutique (29:53):
Yes. It’s always good to have that.

Zoran (29:56):
Of course. Then you go and pick the cherries if that’s the right,

Cult and Boutique (30:00):
That’s it. Yeah. And I said, okay, okay. I’ll ask a couple of questions. What would, what would your advice
be then for anyone looking to build a wine portfolio? I know you’re more used to dealing with people
who say, I know what I’m after, plus I trust you. But if someone say, pretend, I knew that my family were
in swine, but I was a novice. I was in living in Richmond and I came across this wine collection. I walked
into your store and say, my grandma’s has left me X amount of money. What do I do with it? What
would your,

Zoran (30:35):
Um, I tend not to work with pure investors. I prefer to people who actually drink some stuff. Um, but as
it there’s a it’s investment, like any, it’s like any other investments you need to analyze, uh, the level of
risk you want to take. Sure. So if you come and tell me a zone and I go to Las Vegas twice a year with a
hundred grand in pocket, sometimes I come back on a private jet. Sometimes I come back with no
shoes, either by your different wines. Then if you say, all my savings are in government bonds, then I’ll
buy different wines for you. And I’ll put the portfolio together. Based on that portfolio would be as
opposed to 60, 40 to have most of hedge funds. And most of major investment companies do, it will be
about 35, 35 30, where 35 would be your government bonds.

Zoran (31:19):
So Lynch barge and the like, um, 30%, depending on how big the budget is, would it be the superstars?
So let’s say if you’ve got a hundred grand, then you can fit in a six pack or two of Lafayette and Latour
and so on and so on. If your budget is 10 grand and you can’t because there’ll be the entire budget. Um,
and then third would go on the future superstars. So depending on how you look at your return, I’d
always say to people that it’s not a short-term thing, it’s a longterm thing in the old days was five to
seven. Now it’s now say eight to 10. Yes, I suppose, is, is the spread. Um, but if you look at, if you look at
a structure it’s a 2010 vintage that you mentioned, for example, and I bought a lot of 2010 because
everybody wanted to talk then of course, um, and things like, let me see on Aubriana, I’ve made a
massive loss, but there were wives that made a, made a, a growth even when they were released.

Zoran (32:14):
So something like card in Arlene sent a million for example, is, uh, I’ve traded most of what we took in at
more than 10% growth per year. And we started trading trading four years ago. And you still, at the
moment, you’ll be paying high up on four 50, four 80, and the release price was two 40. That’s one of
the very few that that’s performed, um, to me for, if you look at release price of even a 2010 Chateau
turbo has been under priced for the brand value and for the quality 10, 11, 12, all of them had worked.
What about nine? Um, so I don’t chase the superstars because the fact that someone sells a, I saw
yesterday an offer on, um, 1993, Petrus, I think as a bargain at 1100 thousand 11 and a half thousand
pounds in 1993 was disasters. Why would I ever want to pay 11 and a half thousand?

Zoran (33:14):
So it will make a news, but no one tells you that you probably gonna lose 11 and a half thousand on it in
the right minds, go to take it. That’s true. Um, I don’t buy wines that sell for thousands of pounds a
bottle, because if you need to get out of that market, chances are you’re gonna lose a lot of money. Uh,
if you look at it, for example, lost. So why is that? I look for, for example, uh, where you have a, which
would be in the third, that is a future superstars. Uh, shatter goes in Margo, which consistently dates has
been, has been bought 15, 20 years ago, completely refurbished, consistently rated in the nineties and
consistently selling for 20 or less than $20 a bottle. Now you can take that storage will take certain
aspects of it, but it will still give you a 5% off the storage of growth. So do you have 50 cases of
Labrador? So do you have one case of a feat? That’s true.

Cult and Boutique (34:10):
Well, so yeah, I mean, you’re right. I mean, from, we’ve dealt with, we do deal with some of those Uber
route wines, mainly for like Palm role, Petrus, Lappin, uh, legalese, clan. I, um, love your lats. Um, of
course, some domains that are Romney concierge and you are right. Obviously sometimes if you’re
looking at one and sell out within like a year or two, it may be difficult, but at same time, depending on
your elements of risk, we’ve seen clients who after a year and a half, well, want to not even wanting to
sell, they’ve had like a free to five, seven year window where they’re up like 40%, because if it goes right,
some people are just like, I must have that trophy. It’s a, you know, it’s a big score. It’s the classic vintage
year. Indeed. It’s just the availability.

Zoran (34:58):
Hence Do you do it to Las Vegas, or do they have government boats.

Cult and Boutique (35:02):
I love that. I love that. Okay.

Zoran (35:05):
Th th the way I would structure a portfolio would depend on what you give me. First of all, you need to
tell me what level of risk you want to take. So we will assess it based on the risk level that you want to
take. Obviously, how big is the budget really in different portfolio for 10 grand and a hundred grand, and
how soon you expect it to need to be liquid. If you tell me I want to turn it over by Christmas, then I’m
going to say, this is not a right place possible. Um, if you say, well, you know, I’ve got a lot of clients who
are doing children’s coffees. Sure. So you say, you know, I’ll pop, I’ve got three kids. I’ll pop 10 grand into
everybody’s name every year for the next 10 years, which just get something that will have that. It’s a
completely different portfolio, too. Definitely. You have to tailor, make it for everyone, but there is a,
there’s always a question of looking for what is the next thing where there’s a value to me? The, the
investment is always based. If I taste something that has a value of 50, but it’d been sold at 20 or 30.
That’s a buy. If I taste something that has a value of 50 and it’s selling at a hundred, even if the sapling in
restaurant, it gives you a hundred points. I don’t necessarily go for it.

Cult and Boutique (36:18):
Okay. I like that philosophy though. It’s good.

Zoran (36:21):
So, so you need to look at next Bulgari. You need to look at a next pontic County. You need to look at the
next floor, Cardinal. You need to look at absolutely. Um, the, the, I dunno, let’s say the boat for Golan
cigar has sailed because it hit the plateau limit. Yeah. So whatever you do with it, it’s,

Cult and Boutique (36:38):
It is what it is definitely

Zoran (36:41):
Caused us to nettle few years ago and so on. Yeah. So, uh, the place to look at, and that’s where the
quality is going massively up, uh, but also understanding of how to present it, uh, would be in my books,
the most undervalued place in all of Europe, if not in the world is way better than [inaudible].
Cult and Boutique (37:05):
You can get a decent 15, 20 pounds per bottle of, uh, easily people think real high temper, Neo, you
know, brands. Yeah, I agree. But Ribeira, it’s a game changer. It’s not only, it doesn’t taste like a Spanish
wine. It has those Spanish characteristics about it. Don’t get me wrong. So you notice the Spanish wine,
but you don’t instantly finger [inaudible] granola, or only from that you think that is something that
could be confused for a very elegant, um, French wine combined with someone else. I agree. 100.

Zoran (37:40):
It’s a very, the thing about Ribera. Um, and I spend a lot of time Roberta. I have done for the last 10
years. I go pre locked on at least three, four times a year. Um, it’s, it’s a bottom of an old Lake that was
in the middle of the Northern part of Spain. So as the peninsula, Rose Rivers flew out of the Lake and it’s
completely surrounded by the mountains, a massive big Valley. So all the best when your eyes are up at
about 900, 800 to 900 meters in the villages on the old Sunday beaches of the Lake. So you’ve got a sun
that you would get normally in Spain in the Northern Spain. Uh, but you also have nights where in
August, when during the day is 40 degrees, the temperature drops onto seven. So in the ripening time,
you actually get to retain acidity and you have the ripeness that you would get real highs. And the
reference in Mediterranean, you can have a good years of bad years and you have a shed load arena,
not in the Abeta. There is nobody yet there a different style is there’s a continental Atlantic, depending
on whether it’s a cooler or hotter, but cool vintage in, in Ribera is like a hot indigent border. Yes,

Cult and Boutique (38:47):
Yes. I’ve never had a bad bustle from Ribeira sites, but they also have a, they also have a size

Zoran (38:54):
On production so people can get to taste it. Uh, and they, um, they’re pretty good in terms of, uh,
running a business. So other than the people from real high-end tourists and so on, who are buying land
left, right. And center in Ribera and Toro. Um, but the, the local guys are very good. They have Mariana
Garcia who used to run, who created Vega Cecilia, essentially. He was a great, so he now run his own
States. So a disclaimer here, I represent Mariana Garcia, family wines in UK. So, um, but yeah, he’s the
one who run Vegas since, uh, early sixties stills, uh, 98. And at the time Vega was the only place. Uh,
we’ve had pingers, uh, peach system and I’ve started buying pingers and Florida pingers on the border.
Plus back in 99 from Janick Turnwell, uh, until Courtney and borough got the agency. And so I had to buy
through them. And, uh, we’ve again, had a pile of whole pallet pingers for about 10 odd years, uh, sold
most of it, uh, from in the last four or five years. Um, there are new properties that are coming, that are
of that quality at quarter of money. There we go. If you want to know, uh, Alto is the place to go,

Cult and Boutique (40:15):
Oh, I’ll come see you for that. That’s a show bus. Um, all right. All right. Last question. Before we wrap
things up and it’s more, obviously this year has been in general, it’s just been a challenging year
university. So really our site, as we do close it out, what positives for yourself personally, do you feel
you’ll be able to bring it to next year and have you got anything new in the pipeline?

Zoran (40:45):
I’m new, not because planning anything is impossible. There’s no pointing even trying to from two days
ago to now, we are now half locked up, not, we don’t know in that within a week, we might be
completely locked or not, uh, or we may or may not choose whether to accept it or not as they’re doing
Manchester or not. Um, so making any plans is, is impossible. Uh, but the one that stick to quality, taste,
taste everything, and stick to quality and tighten the belt. It’s a, I look at it as being a, a ship in the
ocean. The storm is coming in a drop to sales tie yourself up, and

Cult and Boutique (41:28):
Someone will come through

Zoran (41:30):
This. We will come through this. Um, uh, it’s a service to clients will be the most important thing. Uh,
making sure that you are available more often than before on your phone, most replying to emails, as
soon as you can, making sure that you can arrange a deliveries when it suits them, because they also
have to run the family. They also have to run their businesses, which are running from home, um, be
adaptable and stick to quality, definitely the quality that’s, that’s the only thing. Um, we might be in a
situation where quality costs less, which would be, which would be helpful. Um, we will probably have
to, at some point over the next 24 months bottle, the, uh, the Lake or wine that is unsold in, uh, uh, in
the lower aspects of the quality, which would influence how the better quality wine can be distributed.
Yes. Um, but yeah, we all rediscovering that we are human and we need, we need each other. We do.
It’s not numbers. It’s, it’s, uh, um, trying, trying to bring a smile on someone’s face makes a difference.

Cult and Boutique (42:42):
Well, I love that. I love that sounds more like spirituality podcasts and the wind poker. I love true. We
should end on that positive cause really that’s what we, that’s what we need where one thing is
definitely taught myself. And I think covers is that smile, more, try to worry less and just made the most
of everything that you can and enjoy some great wine in the process as well. But, uh, right. So on that
note, I’m very first, you know, so myself and Zara are going to have a boss and have to have some very
fine Ribeira, but, um, thank you for joining us one scan and, uh, look after yourselves.

After spending two decades working with Justerini & Brooks, Emirates Airlines and Goedhuis & Co., Mark Robertson joined the Dreweatts Wine department as a consultant in 2017.

Working at the sharp end of the wine market, Mark has been involved with some of the most important wine sales across the UK, Middle East & Asia gaining a wealth of experience.

From the history of Hong Kong wine import duties to the growth and success of Italian & Napa wines, Mark took us on a real journey with this episode, including his personal love for wine and some of his favourites over the years.