Wine has a proven track record of stability during some of harshest financial storms


This is a concerning time for everyone but investors have had a very bumpy ride via the global equities markets and its knock-on effects. Following Boris Johnson’s escalation of social distancing and isolation measures, many are wondering where to look for stability among all the uncertainty.

Wine has a proven track record of stability during some of harshest financial storms we have weathered to date, but how has the wine market reacted to the Coronavirus outbreak?


With a low correlation to equity markets, fine wine moves at a glacial pace and is generally influenced by two long term economic fundamentals – namely supply and demand.

Liv-ex, March 2020


The modern fine wine market has come a long way since the days of deals being brokered over the telephone from faxed stock lists. The introduction of online auctions, exchanges and logistics have helped to build an environment where trade can be conducted remotely. Wine can easily be bought, sold, viewed, valued and delivered online with the help of trade partners in the supply and logistics chains.

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The Liv-ex Exchange remains open for trade reporting today that their Fine Wine 50 index (which tracks the price movements of the last ten bottled vintages of the Bordeaux First Growth wines) had retreated just 3.45% year-to-date, holding relatively firm in comparison to the free fall witnessed on the FTSE 100 & 250 and around the world due to panic selling.

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Zachy’s auction house in the US also confirmed to us today that they are open for business, giving access to another key sector of the wine market. Following from last year’s successes which saw them become the most active fine wine auctioneer generating $121 million worth of sales, Zachy’s form part of a global fine wine auction market which grew by 9% in 2019 from $479 million to $521 million.

We’ll continue to monitor the market as the situation develops and if you’re yet to take a serious look at the market yourself, now may prove to be a good time to keep tabs.

By Spencer Leat

One of the main draws for many over the years has been the low correlation to equity markets.


The spread of Covid-19 is gripping the World, Europe has now become the epicentre, markets have been reeling, casualties are building up.  Although the priority will always be one’s health and the health of our loved ones, the financial implications of this pandemic are very real.

We have been introducing clients into the fine wine investment market for well over a decade and one of the main draws for many over the years has been the low correlation to equity markets. The chart below is a great example of just how fine wine can offer stability to any investment portfolio; it’s also why we are seeing a large amount of interest as investors look for a safe haven.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management

The main reason for this low correlation is the supply and demand nature of fine wine. Even before the effects of Covid-19 started to hit the financial markets wine had been ambling due to tariffs imposed by the Trump administration. Yet no signs of panic selling have been evident and that trend has continued as we’ve moved into uncharted territory. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite with seasoned investors looking to strengthen their positions.


It’s widely acknowledged that diversification is vital in any investment portfolio


Our ‘4 portfolio’ assemblage takes into account buyers’ tastes, appetite to risk, desired hold terms and budget levels, allowing new speculators to enter the market with confidence knowing the products have been selected around specific requirements. This offer was put on hold last week due to a spike in interest from our existing client base, so it’s my pleasure to announce that we are now asking for anyone who has an interest to submit details via our website here.

These are unprecedented times, yet if we look back at the historical performance of fine wine, when markets are in free fall the results have been strong. In 2011 with the backing of the Chinese government the most successful wine fund in history was launched. Aiming to yield 15% over five years, The Dinghong fund raised closer to 125% across the 5-year period. It’s widely acknowledged that diversification is vital in any investment portfolio and we see fine wine playing an important role for many in the years ahead.


By Enzo Giannotta

On this episode, we catch up with our in-house correspondent Jonathan Whittley to learn more about his background and hear about his wine travels to France, Spain and beyond.

On this episode, we catch up with our in-house correspondent Jonathan Whittley to learn more about his background and hear about his wine travels to France, Spain and beyond.

Full transcript of the episode is below, this was generated by voice recognition software so expect a few errors here and there.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (00:00):
Hi there. Welcome to the Colton boutique show. My name is Daniel Patson international sales director. Uh, today we are joined by a familiar face to many of our clients, uh, who are aware from our newsletters of uh, Mr. Jonathan Whitley. For those who are unaware, this is an opportunity to meet Jonathan for the first time. Um, he’s nicknamed a roving reporter as he likes to travel. I think that’s fair to say. Um, Jonathan, thank you for joining us today and welcome to the show.

Jonathan Whittley (00:31):
Great pleasure. How have you been? I’ve been fine. Thank you very much. Um, Nass week I was, uh, at a, it’s a tasting for big Indies at the RAF [inaudible] you just go off of too good stone.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (00:45):
Yes. I’m what Vincent looked at 2018 vintage

Jonathan Whittley (00:49):
2018. See right across it was, it was Bouchard William fav. Oh, right, right across. I mean, you can’t get much better than that William fav based up in shabbily Bouchard based in bone. Um, and right across it was a horizontal tasting right across the right across the Oh, Oh, Oh, D GAM. Yes. [inaudible]

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (01:11):
yes, yes. And obviously need being one of the hottest regions for wine across the globe. Um, aside from your travels to burgundy, what, where else you’ve been traveling in the last, say 12 to 18 months?

Jonathan Whittley (01:25):
In the last 12, 15 months, I’ve been in Spain. Um, last last a year, uh, in June, July of last year, I decided I was, happened to be on a, on a sunlit square in caddies. And across the, across the way, there was a, there was a building look like a tourist office turned out to be a language school. I picked up a leaflet. I
th my Spanish, I S I’m a fluent French speaker, but my Spanish isn’t quite up to that standard. Um, and I picked up this leaflet and thought, yeah, maybe one day I’ll do it. Went home. Um, and a couple of days, 10 days later I was leafing through a pilot, found this booklet and thought I’ll do this. So I emailed and I went out to Cadiz for two weeks, um, and uh, and, and took part in this Spanish course, um, for, uh, for adults. And, um, I was, I was actually, there were, there were a half a dozen of us, uh, in the classroom and five of them, five of them were German plus me.

Jonathan Whittley (02:29):
Oh, Sarah. I have a little, little bit on the Spanish has to be said. It was more proficient. Uh, so a bit of an uphill struggle, but we got there in the end. Good. And, uh, how, how is your Spanish now? Uh, not, but well I had to say I need, I need more. I need more practice. Um, where I to have, where I too have learned Spanish for as long as my, I’ve learned, I’ve been learning French. Um, that would be my, my would be, we’d be on the same level, but um, as you, as I’ve just explained it, it’s not, um, but some little by little we get there. Yes. My Italian is not bad, however.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (03:09):
Okay. Okay. So if he was to rank your, uh, expertise in languages, first would be French, second Italian, third, third English. Oh, yes, yes, yes.

Jonathan Whittley (03:27):
I was practically born with French, but some people think I am French. I mean when I speak to French people because by accident is pretty good. Uh, but, but I was lucky enough to be taken by my parents, uh, to France on holiday when I was sort of half. So four and a half, three and a half. Very young. Put the car on. Yes. The car went onto the plane. We put the car on the plane at lid and it came off at the two K my father drove down from the two K two to two, uh, the French Riviera. Wow.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (03:57):
I’m with your studying of the French language and French heritage. How long was you studying? Um, I suppose the language or France as a whole.

Jonathan Whittley (04:06):
I was, I was lucky. I, I started learning French formerly, um, when I was seven. And then I went, I did it. I went on to do it in secondary school. I did, uh, I did, uh, a degree in it, which, which, which gave me a year abroad in Dijon. Oh, lovely. Nice applicant. And uh, um, but the trouble was weekends. I was confined to the town. I didn’t get out of town very much. So I didn’t get down into the, into these, the wine villages. Uh, I remembered that about, um, 14 years ago. Um, I w I, I went to the walk from fixer to Sultani, uh, North to South through this lovely, I mean, you visualize, I can’t see one, but I’m visualizing that wonderful map that Boucha have been yard, um, going from, uh, uh, East to West, well West to East [inaudible] on the left, Dijon on the right. And, and it goes through the wonderful PAF sale. Um, burgundy of course, has just been the person of Bergen had recently been given a UNESCO world heritage site, um, title and which they campaigned for, for the last, uh, uh, for several years. And I think it was, it was granted to them finally in, uh, uh, just a few years ago now. Yes. Um, it’s now a world heritage site, so, so the cartoon, it’s, it’s there for good. Oh, brilliant. Brilliant. As a, as a lots of UNESCO sites in France say lucky. Yes.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (05:41):
Osby knows. Well, Jonathan, as well as appreciates and, uh, you know, French culture in your travels, you also enjoy your wine tastings. You also enjoy eating well. If we was to come over to your home of your salon, a, a party, so to speak, what, what was your food and wine pairings B, what are some of your
personal favorites that you feel others should try if they haven’t tried already

Jonathan Whittley (06:06):
these days? Um, the set rules that usually you shouldn’t pair, um, uh, fish with red wine or meat with white wine goes to the window. It all depends on orange. Uh, a white one with cheese, they go out of the window or you can have some very, uh, salty white wine, which goes perfectly with the blue cheese. Um, um, some dry white wine, maybe a while. Um, I mean, I, uh, underwire, I have a cigarette [inaudible] go nicely with a, with a very, with a very salty cheese. Um, and likewise, um, uh, you could have, uh, a fairly meaty fish like sea hake that you could put with, with, with red, with no difficulty.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (07:00):
Yes. And would you say like a more licensed style or read like a, like a Beaujolais, maybe it was that two lights or you could put a budget. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Now, speaking of MC, you know, peculiar pairings like at red wine and

Jonathan Whittley (07:18):
not yet, well, we cannot do that for the podcast. I’ll sex rates to Jonathan. We look around your own tobacco,

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (07:28):
that’s for sure. However, your, your robbers traditional and your TACE ans you know, among your years of something, some, you know, some very good wines and very bad wines for you, for the positive reasons. What would you say has been the biggest eye-opener in terms of a wine or a region or a country?

Jonathan Whittley (07:45):
Well, I’m, I’m, this is not the last time I’m going to come back to burgundy in this, in this chat. Um, I went, um, Oh, must’ve been 20 years ago now. I was working for a hotel marketing company and, and as a, as a, as a private contractor and they w we had a campaign in Paris at, uh, the [inaudible], uh, under contract on town, which is right now, right up to the opera. You know, polygamy. Yes. Right in the center of Paris. And, um, one evening at this hotel, there was a tasting, um, by four, she up to Guam. Okay. Um, and I tasted, I tasted a told shaman what a very, very famous burgundy whites for the very first time. And it blew my socks off. I mean, I, I write, I writes in, in, in, in, in, in, in, uh, my tasting notes for, for [inaudible].

Jonathan Whittley (08:43):
I just, I just wrote, blow your socks off. But this, but this particular, I can’t remember the, it was probably, it would have been if it was 1989, I think it would be 1989. You’d probably bet some 87
vintage would’ve been, uh, uh, 87. Awesome, Sean. Man, it was, it was phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. And I vowed, because I mean, as you will know, of course I’m, Charmaine is not, not, uh, it doesn’t come to a penny. I vote, uh, for my 50th birthday, I will treat myself, uh, to a bottle because [inaudible] ran a hundred palliate bottle. Um, and, um, it hasn’t happened. I, I, I decided something got in the way. I didn’t, but one of these, one of these decades, I’m going to treat myself and just enjoy it. The bucket list one? Yes. It’s a revisit. Once again. There’s also, I’ll tell you, this ties nicely in with, um, with, uh, the, the, the wine tasting.

Jonathan Whittley (09:44):
There’s also a restaurant, uh, very, very close to, uh, the cuttle vineyards. Okay. Lou shout man. Yes. And uh, it’s, it’s a huge, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a, um, a Japanese French fusion restaurant. I think the chef is French and his wife had Japanese. Oh wow. And so there is Oriental influence, particularly white wine. Yes. So my, my, my, one of my emissions, not, not, which I soon achieve given in the grand scheme of things is to go to this restaurant and each, they’re looking out over vineyards with a bottle of cultural Shamban. There you go. What could be better?

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (10:26):
Heaven, heaven in the restaurant. Speaking of, I’m going slightly off topic, I suppose. Speaking of, again, going back to the wine pairings and you know, food pairings, et cetera. And you mentioned about Southeast Asian and France, there was an uncommon misconception, may be a common misconception, if you can call to that. That’s if you’re going South, Southeast Asian food, that there is no wines pair with it. However, there are people that would argue if you are going to pair Southeast Asian food, you should have it with reasonings. Why would you stand on that

Jonathan Whittley (11:02):
reasoning? Yeah, off dry off dry reasonings is a good, is it that that’s, uh, I would say that it’s a good pairing with Southeast Asian food. Yes. Um, otherwise the old lot of whole of, um, whole lots of French Alsace wines, um, French wine from the Alsace. Oh, you’ve got your peanut peanut CRE. You have, uh, I mean, [inaudible] is the classic example. Um, that would go and I tell you what else is what, what else is dice with, um, with um, uh, with Asian food? Yes. Um, I’m just trying to think off the top of my head. Um, and it’s, I can see the bottle, sorry. It’ll come back, it’ll come back. Um, but, but certainly certainly grow stronger. Um, Toronto. Yeah. Toronto, Argentina. Yes, we’re going right to the other side of the world. We are, um, amazing. But, but a and Argentinian, this is a, this is a wine, this is a wine that I came across for the first time on.

Jonathan Whittley (12:11):
It was in a, from a newspaper article. I brought it in. Safeways. There you go. It has not been around for a long time. Can I buy you a platter? Silver, silver, silver, silver horse have Kobota plateau talking to this Argentinian and I’d never know what’s this Toronto and he’s really, it is an unusual one. Yes. It’s, it’s, um, from, from, uh, the heart of entre Tina, but great with, uh, an and a wonderful pairing with, with, with, with Asian food. Wow. I must try that. I’ve never tried it. So Ron says with Southeast Asian food, so definitely somebody, I won’t be trying this one. I’ll tell you a restaurant account. Okay. Thank you. But I like it. You can give me a refund as well. Right now. He was recently, um, want to say recently, I would imagine the last couple of years ago within Lebanon. Yes, that’s right. And a lot of people who make consume wine would probably assume Chateau Musar within the Bekaa Valley is the only wines come from Lebanon?

Jonathan Whittley (13:14):
Not a bit, not a bit for are there used to be about two or three. Uh, Chateau Musar was one. Uh, CASARA is another, um, uh, which is in the Bekaa Valley, um, as, as is bizarre. Um, but now there are that, they would, there were only two or three that people were recommend to drink. There are 40, a good 40 plus wineries in the Lebanon all day. At the moment. Yes. 44 zero. Um, Messiah is, uh, eh, it may double this AYA not to be confused with really soft stuff. Yes. But, um, um, Messiah, um, every time she’s another one. Um, these are, these are, these are mostly reds. Um, there is, there is, uh, CASARA to a very nice, uh, blown to belong. Okay. Um, but, but Tim’s by, by all means, if you, if you’re, if you’re looking at a wine list, don’t overlook the Lebanon.

Jonathan Whittley (14:20):
Uh, um, what, what, what I, I won’t name the restaurant, but what, but what annoys me is that there is a, there are a couple of, uh, uh, Lebanese restaurants. I know one is in Kingston and they do not have a Lebanese wine as their house wine and they don’t want to shoot my shit. I mean, I, I go to the IC every time I go there. Uh, they’ve got French wines as their house wine. Uh, but they, they, they have some, they have some, maybe it’s, maybe it’s a markup issue. Um, they have, they have a, uh, a Lebanese wine, but it a very [inaudible] markup. Yes. What they’re producing. They’re producing wonderful Lebanese food in an atmosphere that, you know, you could almost see a belly dancer come through the door. [inaudible] there isn’t one, but you could imagine wishful thinking of course. But they, they don’t, uh, there’s, there’s no liberties one house, but it should happen.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (15:20):
It should, I agree. Because a lot of Lebanese wine, especially when I go out with whether they’re clients or whipping out to a few places ourselves and we’ve gotten some Lebanese restaurants, what I do store Lebanese house wines, they’re really good. Now you don’t, you don’t need to spend 30, 40 pounds on a bottle. Absolutely don’t expend your 20, 25%.

Jonathan Whittley (15:41):
Of course the, the great, the, the, the greater company meant to, to Lebanese Missy. I was, let me think about this half an hour ago cause I was talking, I was talking to a lady as we speak. Um, I was talking to a lady half an hour ago who spends most of her life in that she’s English, but she married a Lebanese and spends most of her life if she has a flat Beirut and lives there. I spread it out. I was talking to only half an hour ago and we were, and a friend of ours had a little tiny bottle of Caseras. This is, this is Eric from co shatter Cosara get it. K S a R a K because Sarah is a, um, in a, in a bit of a bottle. But that’s the, that’s the, um, that’s the, uh, classic accompaniment to Lebanese Missy and, but if you’re not going to drink wine, of course, yes, of course, of course. But, but, but, but Eric of course is made from buying by the Lebanese wineries.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (16:34):
Right. Well, so interest in facts though, for sure. Now, obviously I’m, of all the events you’ve attended and there’ve been a few, so I know I’ve asked you to dig in deep to remember here and these events that you’ve attended on our behalf. What has been the most enjoyable?

Jonathan Whittley (16:53):
I think there’s a, I think there’s a cross a toss up here. Um, we, um, w I lucky enough, uh, once a year, they’re all, they’re both annual events. I’m lucky, lucky enough, once a year to go to the, um, Phil’s portfolio tasting, um, which is normally Hills in, in February, uh, in, uh, in a, in a, um, in a building overlooking the tech conference center overlooking the Thames. And there are the wines from all over the world. I, we have, we have, um, uh, new Zealand’s with those America jr pretty jovial chap runs. It, runs a winery in, in, in, in, in, in California who might see from year to year and we just exchange pleasantries. Um, there is, um, then we come back to, let me come back to burgundy on the, on the other side of the room. I did actually spend too much time with the burgundies, uh, on, on that occasion because I’ve already been to the tasting that I went to this last week.

Jonathan Whittley (18:00):
Um, and it’s a good opportunity to, to, um, to sample wines from, uh, of, of, of, of differing, of differing quality and character, uh, and, and fame friends from, from different areas in the world. Um, I T I, I was put a, um, a glass of a glass of port, uh, uh, last time we went there, the very end of the afternoon, uh, by, um, by, uh, Paul Symington, um, who, um, poured me a glass of, uh, is a very ancient port, which I enjoyed as a, as a, as a, as a kind of finale to the occasion. The other one you asked me while I was torn between the two. Yes. The other one is a, it’s a, it’s an event which is really, uh, a bit of a joke called a Bible live, which takes place in Olympia at Olympian in early July. And it’s, um, for it mainly for the entree. It’s not, we’re not, we’re not, I mean, Colton boutique don’t really have much interest there. Um, uh, although there is, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s more cocktails and, and, and bars and, uh, things to put in, in exotic, exotic [inaudible].

Jonathan Whittley (19:23):
Although there is there that two things, two exceptions I’d like to see. Um, one is that there’s a small wind section and that, but the other is that they have some very, uh, interesting, um, uh, talks and tastings for on, on online. Uh, I attended one a couple of years ago, uh, on Sydney, on English, one given by the, uh, one of the, one of the important people in, uh, the agricultural college, uh, in, in pumpkin and which is in [inaudible], which is in Sussex. And of course, they now run, uh, a, an analogy course, uh, because of course, I mean Ditchling where they’re based is right in the middle of the English [inaudible] growing country. So they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re very little paste are brilliant it to, to, to, to educate up and coming one grows. Wow. Perfect. Okay. And lastly, I think everybody who’s going to be watching this will probably know the answer to the question, but of course answer the questions.

Jonathan Whittley (20:29):
Right. If you could only drink from one region for the rest of your days, where would it be? I’m why in a nutshell, in a nutshell, uh, the, the, the burgundy region that I’m in, I have to say I have no, I have no, uh, knowledge. I don’t [inaudible] the macaroni or the Bush really, but I would say the big Indian region and more specifically, the Kodo is where I would quite like to, in my days. Um, I, they, they do seem much that he’s joyous about that region, um, in, in such a, in such a concentrated area. That’s it. I could, I could easily walk as I have done from vineyard to vineyard, uh, finding exciting things that I could talk about, um, for much longer than we’ve got here.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (21:26):
Yes. Wonderful. Well, Jonathan, thank you very much for taking time out today. It’s come a four hour show and hopefully next year we can go to burgundy as opposed to Bordeaux for an OnPrem or campaign tender. That would be lovely, excellent company vice versa as well, especially as you can speak the lingo that we are, but, um, that is all for today. So thank you once again for joining us and until next time, all the best. Thank you.

In recognition of International Women’s Day, we would like to highlight some of the women in the wine trade that have inspired us over the years.


Cult Boutique Wine ManagementCorrine Mentzelopoulos owns and runs the prestigious Bordeaux Chateau Margaux and is often cited as one of the leading female figures in the wine trade.  Mentzelopoulos received the distinction of Officer of the Legion of Honor in 2012.


Cult Boutique Wine ManagementJancis Robinson is a wine critic and journalist writing for The Times, as well as her own website  Her writing career started in 1975 and over the years has led to a string of awards and recognition as one of the most influential wine critics in the world.


Cult Boutique Wine ManagementSaskia de Rothschild is the latest of the Rothschild Family to take the helm at Chateau Lafite Rothschild.  With history as an investigative journalist, Saskia has never been afraid of a challenge, so becoming the youngest person to run a first growth estate is a perfect fit.


Cult Boutique Wine ManagementSarah Ahmed is an award-winning wine writer, educator and judge who writes for Decanter Magazine alongside her own website  Specialising in wines from Portugal and Australia, in 2013 she was admitted to the rank of Cavaleiro of the Confraria do Vinho do Porto.


Cult Boutique Wine ManagementSerena Sutcliffe is the head of Sotheby’s international wine department and a respected wine writer.  The second woman to become a Master of Wine, Sutcliffe was also awarded the title of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour for her work promoting French wine.


Cult Boutique Wine ManagementJane Anson is Decanter Magazine‘s Bordeaux correspondent, writes for the South China Morning Post and is a published wine author.  A wine educator at Ecole du Vin Bordeaux, Anson holds a masters in publishing and a tasting diploma from the Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology.


Cult Boutique Wine ManagementAlbiera Antinori, 27th generation member of the Antinori Family, is the President of Italian wine dynasty Marchesi Antinori.  Closely supported by her sisters Allegra and Alessia, the trio work together to continue the family traits of tradition, passion and intuition.


Cult Boutique Wine ManagementVeronique Sanders, MD of Chateau Haut-Bailly is the 4th generation of her family to work with the property.  Her interests span from viticulture & winemaking through to architecture.  A self-confessed people person, she has helped to drive the hospitality side of the business.


There are obviously countless other inspirational women in the wine trade, so please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

Just over a year ago I travelled to Cheshire to the funeral of a priest in whose church choir in North London I had sung many years ago. I’d not seen his two daughters for about thirty years, so it was good to catch up with them, but I was particularly touched by the fact that both their husbands remembered me vividly from the days when they were dating. One of them had been a Group-Captain in the RAF, and so I was able to tell him of my recent visit to the spruced-up RAF Club in Piccadilly. “I’ve not been there for a while”, he said, “but I can remember drinking some very nice wine”. Well what do you know.


I had fortified myself for the occasion with a buck rarebit at Fortnum and Mason


I explained that the purpose of my recent visit to the Club was to do precisely that, as detailed in this newsletter a year ago. And so it was that in early January this year I went to the same place for the 2018 EP William Fevre and Bouchard Pere Burgundy tasting organised by Fells & Co. I had fortified myself for the occasion with a buck rarebit at Fortnum and Mason (poached egg atop Welsh) and it was a wonder I didn’t arrive at the wine-tasting already reeling from the price I paid for it in relation to its size!

I soon got down to the serious business of tasting first some very fine Chablis from Domaine William Fevre. Now I don’t know how you feel about oysters – bear with me – but I am tending these days to evangelise about them in the manner of a born-again Christian.  I only discovered them a matter of three years ago when I watched my neighbour in a bistro on the Ile de Re tucking in and thought there must be something about them. Indeed there is. Now, the perfect marriage for a dozen oysters, dressed or undressed – however you like, is I would say a glass or two of William Fevre Grand Cru Vaudesir or Les Clos. Why should this be? Because the soil in which the chardonnay grape is cultivated to produce this wonderful liquid is comprised of clay and ….oyster shells! Let it not be said that this contributor doesn’t know his stuff or enjoy imparting thereof.


They are neither of them entry-level, but you could spoil yourself


Vaudesir and Les Clos are two parcelles that I return to year on year as they always have a very exciting mouthfeel. They are neither of them entry-level, but you could spoil yourself and either would go down very nicely with half a dozen Carlingford Lough Rocks.

Oysters, top-end Chablis, am I moving into a different league? Well I equally enjoy, and said as much in my report last year, the Petit Chablis and Chablis Domaine for everyday drinking, which tasted as good this year as they ever do. The 2018 Petit Chablis has a very satisfying hit on the nose and the Chablis Domaine is good and ‘rocky’.

I am afraid I can’t recommend an entry level red from Bouchard Pere & Fils as I simply didn’t taste any. In any case, entry-level red Burgundy these days can be pricey enough, and some that are not that pricey are not worth the investment. This reminds me of a mantra quoted by the proprietor of my local Italian deli : “Good ain’t cheap and cheap ain’t good” says he as he gleefully prices up a bottle of premium olive-oil.

I did however taste some mid-range, lesser known reds, even discovering a new and apparently revered parcelle. Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru sits a few kilometres south-east of Gevrey-Chambertin. Lovely fruity taste, could develop well, but certainly not entry-level. Nor is Echezaux Grand Cru, at around 40 euros less ex-cellar price per bottle, but there is a rather nice dryness missing from the Bonnes-Mares, together with a subtle richness.

However of the reds I tasted on that occasion, the most interesting with good length and balance was the Le Corton Grand Cru. 70 euros worth of Burgundian class.

Burgundy has been in the headlines recently in the press in France as a result of the body of the French Ministry of Agriculture responsible for regulating French agricultural products with Protected Designations of Origin – what we know as ‘Appellation d’Origine Controlee’ (AOC) – meeting on 6 February to discuss excluding 7000 hectares from the Bourgogne appellation, including the whole of Chablis. Sacre bleu! Quelle horreur.

As might be expected, there was a demonstration by the Syndicats de Bourgogne outside the offices of the Institut Nationale d’Origine et de Qualite, and the status quo remains for now, no such drastic measures have been taken. This rather thorny question will however remain on the agenda as, surprisingly, Burgundy’s viticultural area was never entirely defined (technically) when the AOC sytem was introduced in 1937.


It is very easy to go ‘round the world’ of wine, as it were, in a few steps in a long room.


Fells Portfolio Tasting

I always enjoy the Fells Portfolio tasting which takes place in mid-February at the Institute of Engineering Technology near the Savoy Hotel in the Strand. It is very easy to go ‘round the world’ of wine, as it were, in a few steps in a long room. Because of other commitments I actually paid a morning visit for the first time this year, thinking that all the fun happens in the afternoon and I’d miss the throngs and the jollity. Not a bit of it! The place was heaving.

It might have been something to do with the weather but I gravitated towards the red wine rather than the white, particularly the Italy stand. I first tasted a 2017 Langhe Nebbiolo DOC from Renato Ratti, followed by a 2015 Barolo DOCG Marcenasco : two very noble wines in succession. I then tasted several wines from a producer entirely new to me : Tedeschi. I tried a really fruity 2016 Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella (around £20). However I subsequently made two very interesting discoveries from the same producer – a 2016 La Fabriseria Valpolicella DOC Classico Superiore (around £30), quite fruity with balsamic notes adding richness.

I have always found Amarone della Valpolicella quite heavy and more like a dessert wine than anything else, so my big discovery was Tedeschi’s 2016 Marne 180 Amarone DOCG (around £40), which even with a 16.5% ABV ( yes really ) was quite dry and not as cloying as many others I’ve tasted.

I did venture slightly into the New World to try Yalumba’s 2015 The Signature red (around £40) : 51% Cabernet Sauvignon,49% Shiraz – a stand-out vintage, smooth as silk, and thoroughly recommended.

By Jonathan Whittley

Gabrilele Gori of VNK and The Italian Revolution dropped by the Cult & Boutique Show to speak with us about his ventures in hospitality and his journey through the trade.



Gabrilele Gori of VNK and The Italian Revolution dropped by the Cult & Boutique Show to speak with us about his ventures in hospitality and his journey through the trade.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (00:00):
So another episode of the Cult & Boutique show. My name is Daniel Paterson, uh, with me today, you could say as someone who is disrupting the food industry for all the right reasons, uh, Working exclusively in the past with the likes of Pret, Paul’s, Gayle’s Bakery, Whole Foods now heading up his own empires, V N K and the Italian revolution limited. Gabrielle Gori. Gabrielle, thank you for joining me today. How are you?

Gabriele: I’m very good. Thank you. Thank you for having me. I am more than
welcome and thank you for joining us today. And could you please explain to our viewers and listeners a bit about yourself, how you started off within the food industry and how you transitioned from the likes of Pretz pools, whole foods, et cetera. It’s now headed up, um, VNK and the Italian revolution when I, uh, came into this country as an unskilled worker in 2000, um, and started washing dishes for admin or catering as a K through an agency. Originally I actually came to this country to be a musician. Um, but when I got here and started hanging around with musicians, realize that we’re all living in pro in poverty. So I decided to get myself a job. Um, and prep was my, um, my Tigo place because there were playing jazz in the shops in the foot. It was a good environment for me. Um, and I was lucky enough to find a company that told me a lot of the basics of what I know today and gave me the passion for, you know, for what I’m doing today. Uh, so lots of the, um, you know, the basic skills, uh, and the leadership skills that I’ve got today, they come from, from a training of prep. Um, and then throughout the years I was lucky enough to work with, you know, with, with companies, but mostly we had mentors and managers that grew my skills and, um, and helped me grow in the industry. Um, so I moved from prep to, um, to poll for UK as a, uh, uh, a junior manager. Um, I was with them for a few years and around, um, a few shops in the central London until I met, um, uh, the guys at Gail’s, uh, when I was working in homestead. Um, and I was off the a a position as an arrow manager for them, um, and which was in a very, very good change, very good company at the time. It was still very small, very independent. Um, and I, um, I’ve been with them for a few years, open a few new sites and moved on to, um, onto a couple of independent. And so to what end, uh, whole foods eventually, uh, in High St Kensington as a, uh, as a a food team leader prepared for team leader, um, and working out this morning dependent as to whole foods, uh, visa Bloomsbury.

Gabriele (02:56):
And that led to, uh, to the start of my self employment in 2015. Uh, what basically I started doing what I was doing already. So helping clients operationally from, you know, starting out to bettering the, the, the, the operation. Um, until I met my partners a couple of years ago and, uh, BNK group limited was formed in the UK. Um, and eventually the opportunity in camden Mike, um, came up about 18 months ago. Uh, and that’s probably taught him revolution was born in joint venture with butter them brewery, um, any today. Um, and that’s what we are now in Camden.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (03:37):
Well, it’s funny because I enjoy guns prep still in a, in Richmond and you’re right, one of the things, customer service, great. The food, very fresh. The music as you mentioned, very good music. Um, when I used to live in West Kensington actually, uh, we always used to go see the whole foods. They’re great wine selection. Bozo a beautiful layout. Cause I believe it’s an upstairs is what is the downstairs, right.

Gabriele (04:01):
That was my venue actually. Yeah. The venue floor as they call it. It’s like a restaurant flows restaurant as well. Yeah, yeah. Um, yeah. I mean we, we, we used to call it a porn food.

Gabriele (04:13):
Oh, sorry. Food, food port. Hope was because the display and all of the colors. Nice, beautiful. Definitely hints. Oh, this is what enticed you in. Now you are paying a slight premium, a whole fee and rightly so because you get some fresh quality and fresh produce. But again, it was that layout that would just bring you in and you’d think, okay bun. But again, you know, you’re guessing high quality food that but some. All right. You mentioned of course about one of your stores, which is based in Camden. Um, the Italian Ali, which by the way, absolutely super great prices, great food to, if you haven’t been there, go there. I
can vote trip taken my wife, I’ve taken my children. I absolutely love her. Um, but obviously for you, what is the criteria which needs to be met is, you know, in order for these establishments become a part of the network, are you looking at things such as location, location, location? Is it also reputation or is it market trends based on that area? Because obviously London does offer that stoke Newington, Camden isn’t. And what does it for you?

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (05:21):
Well, I mean, uh, I guess it’s a balance of, you know, all of the elements that you, that you mentioned. Of course, you know, when, especially when, when we help, um, clients working on new concepts, obviously, you know, concept and market trends is the first thing, uh, to think about. Um, you know, you want to do something that is needed in, you know, in, in, in the local community. Um, and then obviously after that, you, you would know you’re the demographic that would appeal to, uh, uh, to your sort of concept. And therefore location is very important. Uh, and you know, reputation becomes very important after you open doors and stars that do your job. Uh, you know, you gotta do it right and make people happy. Um, so that you get people to talk about you positively. So it is, I think it’s a balance of, of, of, you know, all of these elements that frankly,

Gabriele (06:15):
well, definitely I think Camden is one of the best places to have. If you’re going to have anything, Camden is the place because it attracts so many people and there’s so many other events going on there and it just lures people who as if something innovative, new creative. And I suppose I’m that tastes good at the end of the day. Did I? So I definitely, I’m not, you’ve been on record speaking about, um, stuffing, um, you know, within the hospitality industry, um, and obviously as most people sounds used as a springboard to getting 12 roles I’ve seen with Brexit, I’m the more recent news that unskilled workers, which I think is an absolute joke, but it’s the DNAs we’re in will not be able to stay in the U K what effects do you think this will have within the industry and for yourselves as a company? And do you
think it will have a negative of a positive effects on user experience? And the reason I ask that as an example, when a guy’s to an Italian restaurant, I like to be served by someone who is Italian. If I go to an Indian restaurant, someone is Indian, Chinese, you got the pitch shop.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (07:22):
are you opening the kind of warm Stan? Um, it is, um, it was a very tough news. Uh, we all, we all very worried in the industry of course. Uh, cause you know, as I came into this country in 19 years old as I am unskilled work, uh, and I’m, I’m obviously an immigrant, uh, as well and you know, started working as a kitchen port. Uh, and I, um, and, and in, uh, my, I guess my passion and my effort, um, got me to create employment opportunities and tax revenues today. My companies, uh, so obviously that, you know, when I, when I read, when I read the news, I was, you know, her personally as well as very worried though was my companies and you know, what’s going to happen with recruitment and finding the right skills and the right people, you know, from, from after December, 2020.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (08:19):
Um, I don’t know. I hope it’s still some, you know, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll Priti Patel said the other day, something that would evolve into something more manageable, um, before the end of the year. Obviously the hospitality industry is not the only industry that was suffered from this. Uh, you know, my, my wife is a, is a, there’s a doctor works in a hospital. Um, and you know, D did the amount of unskilled work is that out of it that I’m not talking about the doctors of course, but you know, the nurse assistants and cleanness and all of these people that are vital, um, you know, or the industry and similarly, um, in, in what I do, you know, it’s a 26,000 pounds is, um, is obviously not a kitchen port, the salary in the industry. Uh, but the key porters is the most important people in the restaurant. So it’s really bad news. I hope he’s gonna you know, better itself before the end of the year. Uh, it looks pretty tragic.

Gabriele (09:24):
Oh, you’re right. I hope so as well because it’s funny you mentioned of course with your, with your story too because you know my mother as well, she, she’s an immigrant and when she came to this country, thinks about 40 years ago, something like that, it was, it was as a, it was on a student’s visa, which I believe was uneasy about a maximum time, six weeks. I could be wrong, there could have been six months, but again, she was on the, I would stay here. Um, cause her uncle who was in America was able to support her bop in between, not she was doing the jobs that most skilled or unskilled people would and wants to do, which was waking up at 4:00 AM walking in the hotel, hoovering, claimed the beds, then come 1:00 PM going down to Lester square, walking on the buck King of that until 12:00 AM.

Gabriele (10:13):
And then again, it’s true. I lots of these so-called unskilled works and I think it’s very unfair to quote in that I had a lot of value to this country and it is all about that authenticity, full stops. I know. I appreciate that. Anyway, but like I said, there’s a can of worms, so I think it’s best to move on from that button. All right. Now with, with online sales having a huge effects on the high street, do you think that this is created more opportunity within the food and beverage sector? Because I know from experience that we’re seeing a huge ups on as an example in coffee shops and restaurants here in Richmond, uh, with the emphasis on quality,

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (10:54):
I mean, online sales is definitely changing. The industry, uh, you know, or change in the high street, um, I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing or a bad change. It’s just a change. Um, you know, Petro station used to have horses to exchange horses. Um, you know, back when we didn’t have petrol, now they’ve got petrol, eventually they gonna have electricity, I guess, and charging stations similarly. Um, you know, for, for, for the retail and hospitality industry, it’s just, you know, a change. Um, I think what’s happening with the high street, uh, a is more about skimming essentially at the moment and getting the, uh, you know, the operators that can manage this change and get onboard with it, um, to keep operating well and, and, and, and flourish. Uh, whereas, you know, other operators and we see, you know, from, um, lots of Rita’s thoughts at the moment. Suffering big chains massively. Um, seminary for restaurants, you know, a, you’ll the likes of Deliveroo, just the thought of these delivery companies offering a very useful service for restaurants. People tend to get out less. Um, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the, the wrestling industry on the high street is going to die because of that. It just needs to evolve and change opportunity.

Gabriele (12:22):
Yeah, I know adaptation is definitely the key, isn’t it? So, all right. And um, I was reading on Forbes magazine a few months back, um, though talking about the upcoming food trends for 2020 and many people for vegetarian, vegan was just the fad. People grow old. That’s, but that’s going to be, again, you’ve seen it yourself and you’ve probably been in a big positive, you know, the, uh, the shift as well. Cause I believe Pretz they’ve got all set like a vegetarian, uh, outlets, haven’t they, um, across the UK. Um, obviously this talks about regenerative agriculture, West African cuisine, nonalcoholic happy hour, becoming more mainstream for yourself. Do you see any other upcoming trends, uh, happening in the future or what? Well,

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (13:10):
definitely, you know, the, um, um, customers today, especially young customers that they, the, the, the um, the panel or the attention to the environment and to the health side of things. Um, so definitely we, uh, you know, beginnings, uh, ESEA to stay I don’t think is just a, a trend that will go anytime soon. Um, and, um, in terms of predicting what’s going to happen next, uh, I can’t tell you today, uh, what I would, I hope it would happen mags, is to, um, hopefully go more. Um, you know, from, from extreme veganism that we’ve seen at the moment to, you know, close it to my grandmother’s diet. You know, you would, um, you wouldn’t eat meat every day, you wouldn’t meet once or twice a week, you know, fish once a week and then it’d be vegetables and pretty much vegan food. Maybe a little bit of cheese if
you’re lucky, you know, throughout the week.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (24:30):
Uh, I guess many consistently not the, they, it depends. I love going to gigs. I go as much as possible. One of my favorite band to, um, to go and see. And thankfully they come to the UK. Uh, quite a law is tower of power. Um, um, there’s a funk band that been going on since 1968. Um, cause I always love going to see them. They, you know, it’s, it’s a big show. There’s a lot of demo stage. It’s pretty good. Um, but, uh, again, anything, you know, the from, you know, from a small Abishai Cohen gig at Ronnie Scott’s to, um, you know, to, to, to tower of power at, at the forum or you know, um, metal band in a bigger venue.

Gabriele (25:19):
Have you ever been to the download festival? Funny child soul and never been to the download festival. Okay. Okay. That’s definitely one. If you’re doing quite a spread of different bands and whatnot, you would definitely appreciate the download festival.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (25:33):
I was close to go a couple of years ago and then someone could make mints happen and I couldn’t go. But yeah, no, he’s, he’s a, they usually have a pretty good lineup

Gabriele (25:42):
[inaudible] cost as well, which I think where they’ve got the, um, motorcycle race truck as well. So you could always combine both your passions there. So I wouldn’t necessarily recommend listening to that music while driving the most about it, but ah, yeah. Alright, fine.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management
Well, Gabriele, thank you very much for today it’s been very insightful. I feel I’ve learnt a lot, hopefully our viewers and listeners would have too. Thanks for your time once again. Um, and yes, thank you once again for tuning in. Until next time. Be good.

We’re very proud to announce that we recently launched our new podcast series The Cult & Boutique Show.  Filmed at our offices in Richmond-upon-Thames and published on YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud, the show aims to shine a light on the fine wine market, as well as speak with wine professionals and local businesses to discover their story and how they arrived where they are today.


In this first episode, Daniel Paterson speaks with our Head of Communications Spencer to see where the market is right now and where we see it heading through 2020.  Please feel free to comment, either here on our blog or YouTube and if there is anyone you’d like us to speak with we’d love to hear your input and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel so that you don’t miss any future episodes.

We’re very proud to announce that we recently launched our new podcast series The Cult & Boutique Show. Filmed at our offices in Richmond-upon-Thames and published on YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud, the show aims to shine a light on the fine wine market, as well as speak with wine professionals and local businesses to discover their story and how they arrived where they are today.


In this first episode, Daniel Paterson speaks with our Head of Communications Spencer to see where the market is right now and where we see it heading through 2020. Please feel free to comment, either here on our blog or YouTube and if there is anyone you’d like us to speak with we’d love to hear your input.


Below is a transcript of the show, this is generated by an automated system so there may be a few errors in the text.


Cult & Boutique Wine Management: 00:00
Hi there. and welcome to the Cult & Boutique Show, a podcast based around the fine wine industry. I’m International Sales Director, Daniel Paterson. I decided to do this podcast as a way of reaching out some more people, with the aim to demystify the snobbery that is associated with the fine wine market. And more importantly, showing how this is a fun market for everyone and not just the politicians and the aristocrats. Now, don’t get me wrong here at Cult & Boutique, our doors are open, to all clients, including politicians, aristocrats, however, a fair portion of our clientele are everyday people from engineers, postman, business owners, entrepreneurs, architects, receptionists, civil servants and so on. Now, some of our future guests would include the aforementioned. They would also include people very much within the industry, from vineyard owners to wine makers, people who deal with the logistical side of the market, actual clients of ours, wine critics.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management: 01:02
Now, in the last decade or so, uh, that I’ve been involved in this market. It feels that I have witnessed that all from the Lehman Brothers collapse to Southeast Asia, dropping their import duties, most notably Hong Kong, who reduced their import duties down from 70% to 0% on all wines and spirits. Uh, so the ANSI gifts, crackdown by Chinese officials, the spectacular rise of burgundy, the Napa wildfires, and in more recent times, that annoying word that seems to go on everybody’s back. Brexit. Now with that in mind, Hey, what meets tonight to discuss the year that was 2019 is our Head of Communications Spencer Leat, thank you for joining me today. How would you summarize 2019 for the fine wine market? Well,

Spencer: 01:52
You touched on a few of the things that have influenced the market over the last a year, has been quite a turbulent year. the benchmark index for the wine market, which is the liv-ex 100 that actually showed a minus 3% negative growth in 2019 which on face value isn’t great. I mean, if you were a lay person looking at a newspaper and you saw that figure, you’d think, well that’s not very impressive. but that actually tracks the price performance of a hundred brands across the fine wine market. So what we really need to look at is to scratch beneath that. And there’s actually some really good success stories. If you like to give a few examples, there’s a Giacomo Conterno that managed to show 75% growth, which nobody would turn their nose up at that, and also a Chapoutier Hermitage, which showed just over 50% growth over the same period.

Spencer: 02:48
The double digit growth goes on. Really there’s a selection of champagnes that did very well. Other wines from Piedmont across Italy and a number of Burgundies that all show double digit growth. And, we’re very happy to say that we’ve dealt with, uh, the majority of those. But as you said at the start, Brexit, the US / China trade Wars and Hong Kong had a negative impact. luckily we’ve just heard today that the US has stepped back from the larger tariffs that they were about to impose, but the existing 25% tariffs on wine from the EU do still remain in place. luckily Champagne and Italian wines have had a bit of an escape route there. So that tied in with their recent performance makes them a real stand out area of the market to put some money into.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management: 03:43
No, definitely not. I think because you mentioned as well when we’ve seen the performance on the Liv-ex table with the Giacomo Conterno and with some other champagne brands as well. I believe Bollinger have performed exceptionally well towards the end of the year after that tariff announcement was made. Uh, we as a company think the whole industry including Liv-ex soul and even auction for that matter, saw a sharp increase in Psalms of the amounts of Italian wines and champagnes that were traded in the secondary market, which is something we’ve been advising our clients for, I believe, at least the last 10 years. Right?

Spencer: 04:18
Yeah. Existing clients that have been reading our newsletter would be able to contest the, we’ve been promoting diversification within the wine market for years now. And this change in the market hasn’t happened overnight. If you go back to 2010, Bordeaux share of trade was in the 90s, the night over 90%. but if you look at it today, it’s, it’s closer to 50% and it goes even below that month on month sometimes. So there’s been a huge shift, a sea change in the type of wines that people

are putting money into. And we’ve watched that, we’ve observed that for a number of years. It hasn’t some, it’s not something that’s happened all of a sudden, but it really is becoming more prominent now as time goes on. And that does really back up our strategy that you should look to spread your risk if you like, across many different regions.

Spencer: 05:10
The wine market does tend to perform on a regional basis and you see, for example, burgundy will have an uplift. It will have a, a great spurt of growth, but it will then stagnate for a short while. And while that stagnating, for example, California, we’ll see a growth spurt and it’s like any financial market, it works in cycles and as long as you are aware of that and can plan ahead and have a reasonable strategy to allow for those cycles, you should be able to see a very good return over five to 10 year period.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management: 05:38
No, absolutely not. Something that we, we have always professed is that medium to long term, five to 10 years when you can realistically see a much better return on your, investments. Uh, within this market of course, and as you stated quite correctly, Bordeaux dominated market for much

Spencer: 05:58
of 2010, early part of 2011 as well. However, diversification is key in any invests investments, including fine wine of course. And with the diversification we’ve seen from beyond board over. Got Bergen the, as you stated, there’s other regions, South Australia, some Spanish wines and so on and so forth. What would your predictions be for 2020? Obviously, I know it’s just been announced today that of course the terrorists are going to be frozen for now. But what are the premonitions for the year ahead? I would say in very basic terms, my personal belief is that, Northern Rhone is a good place to, to store some capital for the time being. That’s an area that we’ve been expecting some growth from for quite some time now and it hasn’t quite materialized in the same degree as it has in other regions. So we feel it’s still overdue. a growth spurt that I mentioned earlier on.

Spencer: 06:57
so I would say some of the top flight wines from the Northern Rowan would be a great place to look. but as you said as well, Italian wines, they have a great entry point. financially, if you’ve ever looked at the price of getting involved in the premium burgundy market, you would have balked at some of the prices and that really is the big boys, uh, area. But, if you like that kind of level of performance, you can see similar performance from Italian wines at a fraction of the cost. and that as you mentioned as well, champagne champagne is, is really coming into its own and it is a really popular uh, region with our clients mainly because they understand champagne. when you’re talking to somebody about a wine or red wine that costs thousands of pounds a bottle, it’s hard for our clients who in many cases are just ordinary people to understand what the cycle of that product is.

Spencer: 07:54
They understand it’s an expensive wine, but when do they ever see that being consumed? Whereas we’ve prestige champagne, people understand it gets consumed, they see it being consumed. In many cases they consume it themselves. So they understand that product cycle a lot better. And it’s just great to see that a region getting its prominence. there were some brands that were bumped up into the top 10 of the, of the live X power 100. Yes. So yeah, it’s a really good time to be looking at champagne. Definitely Italy for its entry level and its performance. And I’m not willing to give up on Rowan yet, so I’d definitely divert some of my funds towards Northern Rome. I agree with that. And as you mentioned as well with the, uh, with the champagne houses, there were free and losable ones in particular that we have dealt with for the last I believe at least six years. Uh, that being crew, which was in a number for Louis Roederer Christo number five, Moez Chandon I believe us linked because it has Dom Perignon wasn’t at number nine and SASA Kaia from Italy number seven.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management: 08:56
So it was the first time ever that any first grow from Bordeaux Mouton Rothschild, the feet rough child, Margo or Brianne were outside the top 10 in the 14 plus years live X been doing it, I believe the only one that retained his top 10 status washouts at at all. But, I also believe as well, Napa Valley is something that’s going to do extraordinarily well in 2020. I believe some of the statistics that live X fry Nava have proven that the Napa wineries, Ridge, Montebello, Dominous screaming Eagles to name a few have performed up surrounds I believe 78% or within that region within the last five years, our performance, some of the other sub indices for live X as well. Because of course we’ve, we’ve Napa, you’ve got the big scores, you’ve got the rarity and you’ve got the reputation and it’s something different. And again, it’s diversifying from beyond the tradition I suppose.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management: 09:55
Yeah. I mean, California wines are fantastic and their performance on paper is, is really staggering. One thing that we have to bear in mind is that that side of the market, the secondary market for California wines in the UK is still very premature. It still needs to develop, it needs to strengthen and it needs to become more, more liquid. but the wine market is all about looking ahead at what is to come and we believe that that market for California wines in the UK will strengthen, will become more buoyant. Yes. so yeah, I, I agree with, with that prediction. I think that would be a, again, another great place to put your capital and and don’t forget as well that we do deal directly with a lot of prestige us auction houses. So even though the market isn’t that developed in the U K we still have a very firm exit strategy for our clients.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management: 10:46
They’ve taken a position in those wines because we deal direct, I mean you’ve had a heavy involvement with that as well. Yes. Zachary’s for example, nailed a couple of really good auctions towards the end of last year 30 well, absolutely as well as a ACA and FM one, our view has been more familiar with Southerby’s who last year announced for the first time in their history had achieved the 100 million us dollar sale worth of wine and spirits, uh, in an auction calendar year, which again is unheard of. But the record for breaking records, they did. And again, we saw some extraordinary examples of, you know, there was that Mick Bossert and Macallan whiskey, a soul for closer, you know, 1.5 million pounds earlier in 2019 there’s one boss, sort of a domain, duller Romney consi sold for close to 500,000 pounds for one. Bustle just seems that the records are there to be broken. And I say that it’s very interesting times in 2020 I think we’ll offer a lot of opportunities for people who are already in the market and you know, the new to this market. So, but, you know, on that subject with people looking to get involved and for people who

Spencer: 11:54
may not be involved already, why are so many people already involved and what should people be looking for as to the sort of benefits that can get through investing in fine wine. Traditionally, people were always attracted by the non correlation of the fine wine market. So, any fluctuations that you saw in the currency market, for example, wouldn’t necessarily be echoed in the fine wine market. but also the tax efficiency of the market. it is, uh, you know, has a very low tax responsibility obviously for more details that speak to your tax advisor, but it’s not income bearing for example. So there’s going to be no income tax. but also outside of that, a lot of the things that you mentioned towards the start of the, uh, the call, the uncertainty that you’ve seen in other areas have made a lot of more traditional areas, investment, quite volatile and fine wines.

Spencer: 12:50
Performance does compare very favorably. if you, for example, layered up the performance of the fine wine market over the footsie over the last year, you were visibly be able to see that the fine wine market is a lot less volatile. Its movements are less extreme and less frequent. So it’s that kind of stability in this kind of chaotic financial environment that people seem to be magnetized towards. one of the best things about the fine wine market is many of the wines that we deal with are produced to a limited quantity, usually even limited in, in French terms by law. but in, in other areas it would be limited purely by the size of the vineyard because wines are produced geographically. there’s a French term terroir, which refers to the taste of the earth being being prominent through the vines and then obviously in the result of wine.

Spencer: 13:43
And because of that, if you have a fantastic warm of a, an international following collectability, there’ll be a limited area of land that you can grow the fruit on that’s going to contribute towards making that wine. So that in itself limits the production quantity. So you have a fairly static, supply line. Yes. Servicing an ever growing demand. the amount of people that are drinking and collecting these wines is growing year on year on year. So that in itself puts up a pressure on price. So for those who are new to the investment, some of the questions I’ve, I’ve had over the years as well, where do I store it? How, how’s it kept? I haven’t got room in my house. I don’t have a seller. How do we look after the client’s wines? if you’re looking to get involved in the fine wine market, you have to make sure obviously that your getting involved with a reputable company see that the company’s been around for a decent amount of time.

Spencer: 14:43
Ideally, are they members of recognized trade bodies? Have they won any recognized awards? Those kinds of things really do help to separate if you like. the good companies from the not so good. we recommend five years storage insurance in order for the wind to mature and for the secondary market to develop, et cetera. So in order to see that a company has the ability to show returns, you have to deal with a company that’s been around for, you know, a minimum of six, seven years to see that they’d been through that cycle with clients. but once you’ve, you know, you’re happy that you’re working with a, a company that that’s going to do the right thing by you. I would also make sure that your wines are stored professionally. Don’t store them at home. I know it’s something, you kind of mentioned it tongue in cheek, but to somebody looking at this market from the outside, they wouldn’t have an idea of how it works.

Spencer: 15:33
find wine longterm storage has to be within a certain parameter, temperature wise, not in any strong lights, et cetera. And there are bonded warehouses across the UK that are dedicated to storing fine wine. one of the world, definitely the UK, Europe, but, but probably globally. One of the most recognized companies for this is London city bond who we use. we use their Burton upon Trent facility called Vinoteca. It’s an old Victorian building and they have a S, uh, state of the art air conditioning system, which makes sure that the, the, the environmental conditions are absolutely perfect. The temperature, the humidity, if they fall outside of the parameters that are required, um, the management of the facility automatically get messaged so they can get straight on it and find out what the problem is. Um, also insurance. There’s um, a level of insurance that will always come or in most cases will come with your storage if you have your wine stored at a bonded warehouse.

Spencer: 16:34
But it’s worth checking that the, the level of cover offered by

that insurance policy matches the replacement value of your fine wine. Um, some of these warehouses can have a limit if you liked the amount of cover that can be offered. For worst case scenario, a bomb falls on the warehouse that wipes out every wine in the warehouse. There will be a limit to their cover. Um, we are cult and boutique. We take out our own, um, private policy. We have an independent company and that covers all of our clients’ wines at their replacement value. Not only whilst they’re Infinitech, but it also covers them whilst they’re in transit. If they’re being sent off to be sold at live X or if they’re being sent overseas to be auctioned. You have the peace of mind of knowing that your wine is covered and if anything, God forbid, were to happen to it, you would be paid out of this replacement value.

Spencer: 17:24
And the other factors to think about obviously is monitoring your, um, your investment. Um, a portfolio of wine can as it grows, become quite complex to track. Um, we are Colton boutique, have an online portfolio. So when you become a client here, you’re provided with login details to your own online portfolio. You can look into that from anywhere in the world where there’s an internet connection and that will give you, um, the price that you paid for your wine. It’ll also give you a market low, average and high. Um, and those figures are updated daily. We wouldn’t necessarily suggest that you check the value of your wine daily. Uh, probably monthly would suffice. But just for peace of mind, you know, you can log in and check that price and whenever you like. Um, and then once you’re happy with the performance you’ve seen, uh, to most of our clients, the, the most important part is obviously the exit strategy.

Spencer: 18:15
Finding the right time to dispose of your wine at a good price, using the right exit strategy for that wine. Um, getting back to, to some of the comments earlier, there are wines that didn’t too well, it didn’t do too well, for example, on the live X exchange in the last year, but we’ve been able to get fantastic prices for in the U S at auctions and we have staff here that would be able to help you through that, guide you through it, discuss your strategy and ultimately work out which of our exit strategies best suits the ones that you’re looking to sell.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management: 18:48
Brilliant. And you also made a couple of very good points that which is what people should account for when getting involved in the company. Could you shove our view is some of the accolades and achievements, uh, that costs boutique have won the awards and some of the governing bodies that we work directly with?

Spencer: 19:06

Yeah, well, we’re, we’re members of, um, live X, which is the London international vintners exchange. Um, it is an online wine trading exchange. Um, it’s a trade only environment, so it’s only open to wine merchants. Um, and also it’s an anonymous environment. So, even though we go on there and sell our wine, we don’t know who buys it from us and they don’t know who they’re buying it from. All they see are um, you know, offer prices and they bid against those. Um, that’s probably one of the more time efficient exit strategies for our clients. Um, we are also members of the London chambers of commerce. Um, the reason being they help us with all our export papers when we are sending wines overseas to be sold at auction. Um, they help us with the exportation of that, um, wine searcher, which is, uh, an online fine wine pricing database. So it links into literally tens of thousands of fine wine merchants around the world. We have one for the third consecutive year, their gold award for our new world selection of fine wines. And the award is also as, as they themselves profess very much linked to customer service. So it’s fantastic to be continued getting that Pat on the back from such a recognized body.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management: 20:20
Well, absolutely. And as you mentioned, wine, such a, in my opinion, probably the biggest search engine out there for fine wine prices. So the fact that we have received such an award three years on the trot consecutively, obviously speaks very high volumes. But, um, we’re almost out of time. So Spencer, I would like to thank you once again for taking time out of your busy schedules to be joining me on today’s podcast. Um, however, join us next as we will have a fifth-generation wine maker joining us here at Cult & Boutique in Richmond upon Thames. It’s going to be a very exciting time, hopefully as exciting as today’s podcast. And until next time, thank you very much.