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 jancisrobinson.com.  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 thewinedetective.co.uk.  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.

Sixth-generation grape grower Adrian Hoffmann of Dimchurch Vineyards & Chris Ringland Wines took time to visit our offices and make a guest appearance on The Cult & Boutique Show.  Adrian discusses grape growing in the Barossa Valley, winemaking, climate change and the devastating Australian wildfires, along with an insight into the man behind the vines simply known as Mr Barossa.

Last week we held an exclusive tasting hosted by sixth-generation grape grower Adrian Hoffmann of Dimchurch Vineyards & Chris Ringland Wines. Held at The Ivy Cafe in Richmond-upon-Thames and attended by a number of Cult & Boutique clients, the selection of wines were accompanied by an impressive three-course meal.

Throughout the meal Adrian talked us through his wines, interlaced with entertaining stories from his experiences growing up in the Barossa Valley and tending to the family vines.

Adrian also took time to visit our offices and make a guest appearance on The Cult & Boutique Show. The full transcript is below but this was produced by voice recognition software, so expect the odd error here and there.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (00:00):
Hi there and welcome to another episode of the Cult & Boutique wine show. I’m your host, senior international director, Daniel Patterson. Uh, we meet today as a very special guest all the way from Australia. He’s one of the most influential people in the fine wine world and Barasa famous for his collaborations with some of Australia’s most exclusive and yachts, many of which we at call some boutique, very familiar with is what does our clients on the fine wine world in general, vineyards such as two hands, Chris Ringland, Glatzer Barossa Valley, John Duval wines to his very own vineyard dim church without further instruction. Our guests, a fifth-generation grower, sick generation on the property and one of the most important barons of Barossa. An influential advocate for the bras. Lavati Asian Hoffman agent. Thank you for joining me today. How are you?

Adrian Hoffmann (00:51):
I’m very good, thank you. I’ve just come back from a uh, got on a long flight. So you are here for a, uh, I suppose a short stay coming across. Don’t generally like traveling during the growing season cause it’s most probably the most important time to be in the vineyard this time of year, but took the opportunity to come across and uh, catch up with you guys. Thank you.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (01:10):
Thank you Sue. And I believe obviously we have this a tasting and we’re going to be doing this evening, which should be very exciting.

Adrian Hoffmann (01:16):
Very well. I’m actually looking forward to it. Um, I really like I suppose showcasing ones from our vineyard and um, especially ones that I’m involved in with Chris.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (01:24):
Oh definitely. And you mentioned, is it just today that you’ve arrived in the UK? Was it a couple of days prior?

Adrian Hoffmann (01:29):
No, I only arrived yesterday, so, um, I don’t suffer too much jet lag when I’m coming over here. Generally suffer the jet lag when going home. Say I tend to point if I’m going with the times, I am not too bad if I’m going against the time zone, that’s when I tend to suffer a little bit. So yeah. Fair enough. Fair enough. And how long do you plan on staying within the UK or even Europe for? Um, I’m only in the UK for three days and then I’ve got another tasting, another dinner in Frankfurt as well. So our, our distributor over there, mr Nathus, um, he’ll be hosting me. So yeah.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (01:56):
Oven I would say could be something, some of those reasons you, uh, you enjoy that soon.

Adrian Hoffmann (02:00):
Yeah, no, I definitely enjoy my Rieslings. I’m, I still like those semi-sweet Riesling so they’re very nice, very good,

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (02:06):
very good on numb. But the people who might want to know more about yourself. I enjoy history. How did you Johnny and Y begin?

Adrian Hoffmann (02:16):
Well, I suppose I grow, grew up in the industry. Um, I’ve always lived on the property but when I grew up on the property it was quite different. Um, it was a, I suppose a, um, it covered all different aspects of agriculture. We had sheep, we had dairy, um, grandma ran shocks as well. Um, we had our apricot trees. Um, so that all sort of, I suppose come to a head when I was leaving school cause um, you know, my grandfather sorta said to me, do I want to be a dairy farmer? And I said, well, the idea of milking cows morning and night for the rest of my life didn’t, wasn’t that appealing. Um, and we didn’t have a huge amount of land either. So you know, the option to go bigger, bigger with cropping or sheep, what wasn’t there either. But we’re very well positioned I suppose in the Barossa with where our vineyard was and the land that we had for the, so I’m all the way through the nineties, I suppose.

I grew the vineyard organically. Um, uh, so you know, as people ask for more fruit, um, we, we basically, um, grew those bonds. So we started planting in 92. Um, the, the year I left high school, um, and we just grew, I suppose our doll, it’s blocking our home block Shiraz. And as, as we sort of took away paradox, um, always ran a few beefy cows. So I had a few beef, beef cattle, but, um, then we ran out of paradox for that as well. So, um, so I took, I suppose I took the property from a modest 20 hectare to what we’re now at about 140. Hit there.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (03:35):
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I can obviously we’ve, you been a fifth-generation grower, a sixth-generation, the prophecies we touched about, uh, the beginning of the show. You, um, some would see that as a lot of pressure. Uh, was there ever any doubt that he was going to continue into footsteps? And was there anything else that you foresee about doing outside of wine?

Adrian Hoffmann (03:55):
Oh, I suppose because of the downturn in the industry in the 70s and definitely the IDs might that actually went into general engineering. Um, so he done went into motive mechanics. So when I actually left, um, as much as we still looked after the great bonds, I suppose I was actually studying welding at the time. So looking at, going into I suppose middle fabrication, um, and shed building, which was, uh, my dad’s business, Hoffman construction. So, um, we built, you know, built quite a few sheds around the place and when we were no known for the quality of shits that my dad built as well, you know, they weren’t going to blow down in a thousand years sort of thing. I think you could build them in the tornado alley in the U S and I don’t think they would have blown down that will always over-engineered cyberspace. So that’s most probably where I spent I suppose, um, first four years after high school.

But we still had to look after the bonds and we’re still planning a few blocks slowly. Um, but then I suppose the bug really bit me, um, uh, in 99 when I’ve become young ambassador for the Bourassa, but I also studied at Tife prior to that as well. So I’m done. I live all three in viticulture. Um, so I suppose for me to get a better understanding of more modern-day viticultural techniques cause everything I learned I was learning from my grandfather. Um, and it was always quite, it was good to learn from him, but it was also good to learn. You know, I basically learned from my grandfather where, how things were done, um, and why some of the things we’ve done as well. And, um, he was most probably a very good teacher cause he was, he led me to make a lot of mistakes along the way as well.

So mistakes, things that he would’ve actually, um, he would have learned through his course of growing rice. But he was happy for me to do because you know, you tend to learn more from what doesn’t work than the successes. So and that’s, and that’s still happening to this day now. So you try and experiment and you’re always trying to think you’re doing something better in the vineyard or something different. But generally most of the time someone else’s already has done it before and you try and learn, you know, you want to talk to people within the industry and learn from their experiences as well.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (05:50):
No, definitely. I think you connects to them point there as well in life. There is a too much focus on not making mistakes, but where a school may punish you for making mistakes. Life actually rewards you for the mistakes in which you make because you’re always going to be learned.

Adrian Hoffmann (06:04):
Well, I, I th I think that’s, I think that’s where it puts you to the next level in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s gripe, growing or, or a whatever, whatever. Um, I suppose journey you are in life, you learn from your mistakes. As long as you learn from your mistakes and then you can achieve better, um, and, and your, the outcomes better at the end. Um, it’s always going to be great. You know, it’s a bit like a, with a cricket and stuff like that. You get to get a bounce from and you keep on sweating at it and you keep on getting hit on the body. Eventually you learn you’re gonna actually have to hit the ball if you don’t want it to hit you. So that’s true. Yeah.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (06:35):
Not very good. Um, with regards to that, I’ve of course mistakes always going to speed that. Um, however, with the challenges you’ve been faced with along the way, again, aside from once when you were challenged by, I think a, a great, another great picker.

Adrian Hoffmann (06:50):
Yeah, it was, it was a female grape picker and it was, it was the, it was to get to the end of, uh, end of the rise. I was sort of trying to motivate them a little bit and I think it was, I was on a lose lose bet. I think I’m at the end of the day because, um, if, if I beat me to the end of there, I had to drop my pants on the, on the bottom of the tractor and if any part, and if I was to get there at the end of the road that she was going to do the same and I’m most probably not the most attractive lady to be doing that. But that’s still, I guys say, well we could, we mustn’t grumble. That’s right.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (07:21):
But um, obviously we’re, with regards to that, have there been any other general challenges that you did face? I know you mentioned, uh, initially, uh, again, taking the heads of some 20 hectors. So I’ve a 100 hectors. It must’ve been, uh, quite taxing at the time.

Adrian Hoffmann (07:38):
Cause it happened organically. It wasn’t sort of forced. We didn’t, weren’t going out and planting, you know, we’ve never had an issue with over supply on our vineyard. People talk about oversupply in the industry in the two thousands. We, we sorta didn’t have that issue because we, we, our fruit is always sought after. Some of the biggest challenges that we’ve got is I suppose, um, mitigating against, um, I suppose the, the changing environment that we’re dealing with. Um, this year, you know, we’re dealing with some extreme hot weathers. We had a, we had a hot, hot, um, a windy event during our flaring, um, which, which allowed for a poor set. But in saying that if we didn’t have the poor set, we would have had to start dropping fruit on the ground. So each year has got those challenges. Um, you know, 13, 14 and 15 for us were very challenging years in frosted years, uh, in the vineyard.

Um, we spent a lot of money on now frost mitigation for, but for us it’s all about trying to, um, uh, I suppose for us it’s trying to mitigate against those risks. You know, getting, getting extra water so you can actually supplement water the Vons to make sure that they’re healthy and green enough. Um, for, for us to, you know, particular violence during spring. So for me it’s the challenges of, you know, I had had it, we now, you know, that one hot day is sort of really put a bit of a dampener on this vintage from a grape growing point of view. But from a worn making point of view, the wine makers are rubbing their hands together cause they’re going to be looking at uh, you know, lower yielding crops. They were looking at more concentrated fruits, smaller berries, everything that they like about a good bright quality year.

Unfortunately I don’t think the quite the volume of fruit is going to be there. That’s going to be pleasing to anyone, especially the consumer because I, there will be a much smaller vintage but the quality is going to be fantastic and without normally then results in maybe slightly higher price. We, it’s not a trend in Australia. You know, if we, if we were to try and compensate with pricing, you know, most probably should be nearly happy to triple the pricing of the one. But you’re not going to see that. Generally we’re a lot more, um, restraint in Australia when it comes to some of those better quality vintages. You know, we’re just, we’re not just gonna ramp up the price because it was a bit of NTG, especially from I suppose Chris and my perspective as well, what we’re, what we’re trying to do is create something unique, something that’s a little bit different that, you know, is gonna last beyond the generations and we don’t want to just ran the process up for the cycle.

And I think, I think we’ve, you know, we’ve, we were the dim church and Hoffman, we set it, set our prices as a bit of a benchmark and I think, um, we’re holding holding that process because I think, you know, they, you know, it is an expensive one, but grow the people that are buying the one is getting value for money. Oh, massive. Massive. When you consider the cost of dip charge and Hoffman compared some other wines from the new world and the old world, which similar quality, some are less and they’re asking for more in terms of what you’re actually offering cost per bottle even though yet like you said, it could be on the more expensive side in the grand scheme of things is actually worth the money for the contents which you’re getting are definitely when you, when you’re talking about Chris, who I deem is one of the best Shiraz wine makers in the world and the attention to detail that are put into my vineyard and especially the parcels, um, that go into high end products, not, not just not just the dim church and Hoffman, but you know, the tall brick run rig, the glide time and rather than, you know, two hands areas, you know, although all those super quality and, and it’s not all the same fruit.

How, how our grow for those different wine makers is quite, is, is stylistically quite different. Um, the soil tops that on is different as well, but when it comes to the dim church and Hoffman, it’s really about going through the vineyard and tasting the fruit and seeing those very more new differences between the Vons and between the frayed and making sure that we’re getting the best, I think the best of the best Freud from our vineyard. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Um, with regards to the, actually, in your opinion, what does make Australian wines so special and what makes your wine special too? I think what makes Australian wine special is what we don’t have to do. Um, it’s, it’s very, uh, it’s very interesting. You know, there, there are, there are sorts that are dry ground and we can dry grow on a, what I would say is a normal or an average growing year.

Um, we, we can do quite a bit of dry ground fruit in those years. A lot of times we’re doing supplementary irrigation, but we don’t, we don’t have the same chemical inputs. We don’t have the same inputs into our farm. You know, we, we introduced, we introduced a lot of, um, organic matter, organic carbon, say, you know, reclaimed Greenways from the township of Adelaide. I break it down into a compost. We put it in the vineyard. Um, so, you know, that helps with soil, soil, moisture, retention. Um, the bones are just remained healthy. I will a lot healthier overall. So when you start, when you start looking at, I suppose how it, it’s more so the little things that we do, but we don’t, the chemical inputs from a spraying point of view, um, this year has been quite a dry, dry years. So, um, basically put on two posts, post flowering sprays and we haven’t done any sprays after that.

But then we still going through and putting kilt products on to alleviate the stress stress on the Vons as well. So we’ve got those. Um, you know, it’s, it’s always trying to do work out what is the best for the vine for that given year. And each year is slightly different on how we’re going to treat those vines. And would you say that’s more experienced? That then plays a significant role in, uh, you know, predetermining that, or would you call them, uh, of a people to offer a second or third opinion? Ah, generally, you know, I’ll always bounce ideas off of other growers. Um, it’s, it’s crystal ball gazing to a certain degree because you’re looking at um, how far you’re looking into the future. Is it going to be, is December going to be weird? Is it going to be dry? They, everyone was sort of predicting a dry season.

So you know, you can, you have the, you have it in the shed, you have the arsenal in the shed ready to go, but if you don’t have to use it well, why use it? Um, yeah. Chris’s approach to wine making, um, an our approach to selecting the ones is no different. You know, it’s, it’s what you don’t do during the famine. It’s what you don’t do during the maturation process. You know, people are, you know, people sometime are going in and topping up their barrels every month. You know, when we’re topping up our barrels, we do it twice a year. We adjust, saw, do it. Do sulfur checks and adjustments once a year as well. You know, we’re not, we’re not trying to manipulate, uh, what’s actually happening. We just letting the wine tell us on letting the vineyard tell me what to do. Chris is letting the, letting the ones telling him what to do. And it’s very much a hands off approach to actually produce the quality that we get at. It sounds, sounds a little bit silly, but if you starting off with some really good products to start with, whether it’s the fruit, whether it’s the Ike, I think, you know, I think you can make some pretty fantastic ones. Would you say that the soil can also play a role or is that just a myth? That’s most probably is. I won’t, I won’t get into it.

I wasn’t going to talk about the terroir, but I suppose true expression of terroir is, is the bonds on their own roots. And you know, unfortunately on a, um, yeah, your Europe and America, they have to grow on rootstocks. So, um, and I’ve got trials where, you know, if, if, uh, I’ll have to go to rootstocks working out what best rootstocks we can use, uh, in the Bourassa, but at the moment we can plan a lot on our own routes. So you’re getting a true expression of tour wire. So, um, I’m in a unique situation. My grandfather always told me, you know, when God created the earth, he’d done all the different soil types, you know, that it was leftover it out at Ebenezer. Um, because you know, we’ve got, you know, two, two kilometers within two kilometer radius of my house. We’ve got seven foot sands.

You know, we’ve got a red Brown earth soars over red clay, we’ve got Siskey soils, we’ve got bisky over lawn, we got Longstein through it, we’ve got Sandy lines, we’ve got Creek gravel on top of Hills with, with washed quarts and Ornstein through it as well. So you’ve got this myriad of different soil types. And I think that’s how we can get so much complexity into the dim church and Hoffman. We’ve got this myriad of different soil types and every year is slightly different. You know, you know, general rule of thumb for me is a Sandy Lomea saw will, will produce really good fruit in a, in a, um, in a dry year. Um, your heavier saws such as your biscottis and your clays, you know, they’ll produce you really good fruits in those, um, in the wet years. Um, because the soil really wets up and in those, in, in, in those wet years, the Sandy, Sandy soils, just give that moisture to the Von too quickly and you can end up ended up with too much vegetative growth and a bit more shading.

So you can end up with a bit of grain underwrite tendons and things like that as well. But on those wet years, those heavier clothes only give up that moisture very slowly to the barn. So the growth, the growth is regulated all the way through. So even on those wetter years, you can really produce some heavy concentrated ones, maybe not going into 2017 that was a little bit too generous. That’s where we had to work a little bit harder in my show. We actually Rob in the fruit on the bond. Um, and yeah, our, I suppose our limit lodge, um, Kevin Ima Tara because now Kevin, I really thrives in conditions like that and we produced a very special Kevin O’ Mataro in 2017 as well.

So that’s the ones keep an eye out for for sure. Yeah. Good, good. And obviously there’s been, I think there’s been more news which come out today about the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Australia. I’ll see with the wildfires must have been ongoing in more recent times, a loss of human lives, loss of hundreds of millions of wildlife, forestry, people’s homes, vineyards and so on. In your opinion, is there a genuine issue with global warming? The likes of what’s a Gretta funBug we’ll talk about and if so, how can we make that change?

I think everyone’s got to do their own little bit. Um, I think my family’s been doing that for generations already. So, you know, we, we’ve got sections of our, of our property that we’ve actually created as nitric corridors, so Waldorf can actually move through it. Um, we, well, I suppose we, we, we look at the environmental impact of what we do. Um, you know, it, I was sorta talking before about our organic, um, organic vineyard and our organic vineyard most for uses slightly more water than what are traditionally grown. Um, you know, what a traditional vineyard is actually, uh, using. So, you know, is organic better in that circumstance because it’s has, has a slightly higher environmental impact from a watering point of view, which is quite an important issue in Australia as well. Um, but I, I think really it comes down to the management of our natural resources as well.

200 years ago, the aboriginals would let a lot of small fires every year clearing out different areas and you wouldn’t have these big wildfire blazers and things like that as well. Um, so, you know, it’s, it’s now getting to, you know, people don’t want, um, and it is a big issue doing these controlled burns and you only get a very small period of time generally in sort of April and may to do these fires before winter sets in. Um, and reducing all the fuel load in some of these areas just wasn’t done and completed in time or they haven’t been aggressive enough to do it. So then, then when you get a dry fire sparked on a hot day, you get these mega fires as well. Um, you know, I’m not, I’m not definitely not a climate change skeptic. Um, the numbers are there to say, you know, we’re increasing carbon into the air and things like that in there as well.

But it’s not fair to blame, you know, one country or another country that that’s not doing, not doing their thing. We’re getting a little bit political now, but, but for me, I think if everyone can do their own little bit, um, to help, um, yeah, whether it’s just, just recycling and that’s where, you know, coming back to our compost that we’re putting onto our, um, vineyard, you know, using that, you know, recycle green waste from Adelaide. I think that’s, that’s us doing our little bit to help. Um, you know, we, you know, we haven’t sorta done the numbers on what we’re doing, but we’d be fairly close to carbon neutral on our property. I know that’s a big credential for a lot of wineries to sit there and work out the numbers and be carbon neutral as well. Knowing that, you know, I want a bottle of Warren arrives at your place, um, that, you know, all the, all the thought about the environmental impact and the carbon footprint of that product has been taken into consideration.

Yes. Okay. Okay. And on a more positive note, um, you know, the Australian vineyard sores a legendary, they’re up there with some of the best, if not the best people speak about the Napa Valley wine sores, the Bordeaux wine sauce, the Rhone wine sauce. However, if anyone was, you know, listening to this or watching this, uh, and then once it’s come to dim church vineyards, what can they expense on a wine soar? Well, we’ll, we’re looking at, I’m actually setting up for basically a wine experience. Say I’m getting people on to actually give them a bit of better understanding. Um, I think just in grape grow grape growing in general, I think, you know, there’s a lot of myths out there about what makes good fruit and how good fruit is grown. Um, I think, I think for me, we’ve, we’ve most probably, well we’ve got multiple multitudes of different blocks.

So we’ve got about 12 different blocks, but inward within each one of those blocks we’ve got different management techniques. And this is, this is what comes back to the, you know, the 20 or 30 odd plus warranties that I deliver to ’em and the producers that are delivered to, because they’re all looking for something slightly unique and different. But you know, if that were to come out and have a vineyard tour, you know, I definitely always like to show him the elevation. Um, you know, getting, getting him up, um, looking across, looking across the Valley and looking down the Valley so people can understand. Um, there’s divert the Barossa Valley isn’t just one Valley. It’s made up of me, I think several, several

different valleys. Cause you’ve got the Lindoff Valley, you’ve got the Greenock Creek Valley, you’ve got the Barossa Valley proper. Um, where am I? It’s probably, even though we’re the Barossa Valley proper, all our land actually slows out to the North.

So we’re in, we’re in a little niche, micro climate as well. And I think that’s what makes the North Bourassa so special. And then within Eden Valley you’ve got flexpens Valley, you’ve got Eden Valley, then you’ve got the Valley valleys out towards my culture as well where, you know Hinch keys, Hill of Gracie’s and things like that as well. So it’s, it’s quite, it’s quite complex in the nature and for people to come out and explain to explain to them, you know, why the Bourassa is such a diverse, um, you know, region and why we can produce the wines that we can with the diversity that we can. I think that’s really in essence what I like to get through. And when, when you come onto my property, you know, I’ll take you to that scene. You know, you, you basically it’s silica. It’s like going to a beach and then they will guy go, go to the next place where you’ve got, where you can pick up the on stone in the courts and the, and the washed rocks from the top of the Hill.

So cause it was, you know, all, all the potters were also, it was at the bottom of the ocean at one stage and it sort of raised up out of the ocean. Um, but you know, Australia has got very, very much ancient souls and what we’re doing to protect those ancient sores as well. So now my, my philosophy on growing fruit and, and uh, getting that people excited about what I’m actually doing. Cause when I, when I took on the property, you know, my, why my focus was to hand it on to the next generation in better Nick. And I’ve known, I know I’ve done that because I’ve got the numbers to back me up. You know, the organic carbons in the saw, I’ve increased by 0.5%, which normally takes a lifetime to do. And we’ve managed to do that in 20 years and the soils are only going to get better.

And it’s getting people, getting people to actually understand that you’re not, you’re not just buying a bottle of wine, you’re buying into the philosophy of what, you know, dim church and the half Hoffman ones are all about. And with that next generation, is that, um, is that, is that children, are they cousins? Are they, my thing is the next generation, he’s giving opportunity. Any young person that wants to do farming. Um, I think the dream of, you know, leaving school and becoming a farmer and owning your own property, I think that’s nearly non-existent now. Young people are struggling enough to buy that, buy the first house. Not yet, let alone buy a farm and a property. But, uh, for them, church, bean yards, it’s, it’s whether it’s, um, you know, my kids or my nieces and nephew or, you know, the next generation of my work is to come along, um, and, and work on the property.

I think, you know, giving people that opportunity, um, going forward, uh, my, my son is, I’m doing viticultural operations at tall brick, so basically the same study that I was doing nearly 20 years ago. Um, yeah, he, he’s basically doing the same studies, but you know, he’s playing, he used to come back onto the property, but you know, it’s good to go and find those experiences and you know, if he’s wrecking someone else’s vineyard, will those [inaudible] no, no, no. I’ve made enough mistakes of mine vineyard and lost it. You constantly learn and things like that along the way as well, so, yeah.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (23:58):
Amazing. Amazing. And as, as a mom like myself, you, you love your aged wine. Um, however, obviously that can sometimes come at a slightly high price if you’re looking for a midweek drink, et cetera. Are there any, uh, young wines like young style wines, uh, from a red or white variety? So, uh, that you enjoy drinking sigh every other day. And if so, what are the country or countries or regions that you prefer during younger ones?

Adrian Hoffmann (24:27):
Oh, I think Monash is so in Spanish or Natches. Um, you know, if you can find some good Spanish coronation in, I suppose starting to look at more the serious top Roseau’s so you know, people, people that have, um, you know, going away from not having such a heavy red style, especially during the summer months. Um, but for me, um, greenish and motherhood, um, yeah Matare for us, I think, you know, looking, looking at different varietals there, whether it comes from, um, you know, old world, old world or even a new world, um, that’s, that’s what sort of excites sights me, especially the Ganash because I think it’s such a versatile, versatile. Um, but yeah, once again, you can’t sort of getting into the winter months just to kind of beat Shiraz. So, uh, and the ageability of it. So very true.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (25:12):
Very true. All right. So now for yourself, sample lots of great wines, right? Your yes. Um, is there a bucket list one? Well, one, and I know there may be many, but one that sticks out and you think, I must try not wine before.

Adrian Hoffmann (25:28):
I reckon everyone talks about the, I think it’s the ATT chefy to Kim. So yes. Okay. Cause I still like my sticky wines, but I said I think value for money. I think people, people underestimate the twenties and the Sherry’s in the four to Ford’s of the world Messiah. I really, really like, I really like my, um, uh, I suppose I’ve got a good four to fortified stack at home, but you know, I value for money when you’re picking up a wine that’s, you know, potentially aged for 50 years in barrel and you can pick it up for, you know, $70 70, 70 quid. And you know, it’s, that’s just living history basically in a bottle and, and you know, circles who will do it very well cause we’ve got the a hundred year old and um, I was lucky enough to get a bottle of the a hundred year old, um, at the bras or auction this year.

And um, yeah, people said, Oh you mad mad for buying it. And I said, well it’s, it’s a a hundred a hundred years, a hundred years old and it cost me six grand to buy the bottle. Um, they, it’s, you can lay it down for a long time as well. It’s not gonna, it’s not gonna go off. It’s not gonna, it’s not gonna go anywhere. It’s, it’s gonna. It’s going to be the same today, tomorrow and for the rest of its life. But I think there’s something for ’em. Yeah. I open it up. I’m a 50th and share it with a lot of friends. Been, I’ve had the opportunity over the years try, you know, some really fantastic ones. Thanks for it. Thanks to Mike to have Chris’s Yagan. So, uh, um, to try some of these really old Barolos and things like that as well. But yeah, that’s something, there’s something to behold, you know, yet.

Yeah. I think it was a 48 Barolo that we had and uh, it was, it was as nearly as fresh as what it had been bottled. It must’ve been very taught, very compared one when they actually bottled it. But, you know, I think understanding and wine makers, understanding what, what needs to be done to create ones that are going to last, you know, lot of times I think is massive. On the flip side of that, what was the one

bottle that is, you’ve, you’ve tried that was actually in your memory sill now you can still taste and you’re like, this is why I love wine. Whoever’s prior to really getting into wine or what it’s been since she’d been fully immersed in wine, you try to and your life, this sums up why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’ll think what, what really got me hooked onto hog hooked onto one, an H one was um, basically a it [inaudible] Rockford’s basket press and tie, enticing, just tasting that one.

Um, and always my eyes probably. Uh, it wasn’t most probably real old at the time. Uh, it was my most probably one. Uh, it was my, it’s probably only 10, 10 years old at the time when I actually tried it. But actually that was my sort of first one. Um, you know, that all sort of bought and collected and, and you know, opened it up and go, you know, got me sort of hooked onto, you know, looking at wines and, um, I suppose my focus on, especially when I’m looking at the one on one companies that I’m delivering to, whether it’s a know a glide sir or a cliff sling, Lynette Ringland a John Duvall or a light, it’s a, I look at what is the age ability of the one, you know, why, why should I be paying a premium for this one and is, you know, am I going to be able to join in my later years?

Are my kids going to be able to enjoy it in there? And they use, and that’s what I’m really looking for look for in a one. Okay. And, uh, for yourself, do you have like any mottos or mantras that you live by, whether it be personally or from the professional standpoints, or is it just happy go lucky and just awesome little bit of happy go lucky, but it’s generally go hard or go home, you know, give it a crack. You gotta you gotta leave, you gotta live life to the fullest and you know, you gotta yeah, you gotta you gotta give it, give it a decent nudge site. Um, it’s, so, it’s honestly we’ve been thrown a few, quite a few challenges in the industry, um, just in the last couple of years where their yields and, um, I suppose how, you know, how, how everything’s going in the vineyard but more, you know, to pick yourself up.

And especially, you know, in 2013 we lost about 40% of our area to frost. And I am, I said to dad, we need to do something about this. You know, we can’t lose that much area. And he said, no, no, you’ll never see anything like that. Cause that was the sort of the first time we had a major loss of that kind of nature. And then the following year we lost 70% of our area to frost. Um, and I just said to him, I say, well, this, this is, this is Michael Bright Tom for us. Say, you know, we invested that the following year we invested nearly $600,000 into frost mitigation devices and, and he said, you’ll never see that again. And he thought I was wasting my money and if we didn’t do that, we would have lost 80% of our area to frost. And because we put in all these frost mitigation, um, you know, we have only, we only lost 30% of the area, so it investment that paid off very much so in the, in the first year that we actually put it in.

Um, but then, you know, since then all sort of out, you know, after that I said within five years, anything that is on the, uh, what we call the lowlands of Ebeneezer in the frost areas, um, I wasn’t going to grow without frost mitigation. You know, even if it’s never been frosted, so young blondes are potentially never get frosted. We’ll get a frost fan to help protect the crop. Um, the next thing you know, that we sort of done after the dry years of sort of, um, you know, 16 is basically, so we need to get enough water. Say we need enough water. So if we do have these drive year dry years that we can actually water, um, and supplement the double bonds so we can actually get a decent crop and get the quality

because um, it is very much, you know, adding the addition of water can actually increase the quality of your fruit because your Vaughn’s don’t stress, you don’t lose the leaf on the Yvonne.

So, um, you know, the, the factory that’s producing all the sugar and all the flavors, um, you keep that on the Vaughn, the fruit drives in a bit of shade. Um, so it’s not fully exposed to the hot sun and things like that as well. So to make sure that you’ve got that supplementary water there to grow the best quality possible possible now is very important as well. So all these, all these combinations, you gotta, you know, it’s not just thinking about one thing, it’s, it’s all, you know, I’ll sort of say at the beginning of the growing season, you start off with a hundred percent capacity and, and it’s, and you, you, everything you do after that just whittles it down. So the environment helps you whittle it down. Oh, you’re trying to do is create these 1% has all the time to make sure you can get the best quality fruit.

You know, you don’t start off with nothing and the things that you do and it’s gonna to make it better. You start off with a premium quality. And then after that, you, all you’re doing is trying to get it as close as what you can and keep it close as you can to that 100%. So. Right. Very insightful. Thanks for this. And, um, obviously for yourself, we were Salk, um, past and present. If you could choose your old smoke-free than the guests, who would they be? And which free wines would you, uh, choose to serve? Um, also, ultimate dinner guests are our economics probably. Um, dif definitely invited my grandfather. So, um, from, from the, uh, from the past, and I would actually show him the ones that we’re creating now. So, um, he passed away in, uh, 2010, so, so a lot of, yeah, a lot of the wines and I think a lot of what we’ve created from the Chris Ringland from Avenue yard, he didn’t get to see.

So, um, to a showcase those ones, um, from the present are the most part. We couldn’t go past. Uh, um, my mate, um, uh, John Hughes, um, eight say, but what you would most probably have to go and, uh, dig he some pretty good Rieslings or something, so we’d have to, you know, maybe go to the Mozo, go see ’em, um, Mueller or someone like that. And uh, um, we had a great experience with him actually. Um, uh, uh, June, July last year, myself and John actually got to sit in his lounge room and have a, um, I think it was an IDI. It’s, um, uh, all slides that he pulled out for us to try as they were sitting in his lounge room with it. Um, uh, you know, say that was fantastic. Um, but, uh, then, and then I suppose if future AREC and um, it’d be fantastic to, uh, you know, you sit down with, I suppose, you know, not maybe the son’s generation but the generation after that.

And um, you know, I did out some of the ones that I’ve made just now and actually have a try those one once. Um, and to see, I hate to see, yeah, I’ve got, I’ve got great confidence in our ones are going to age for a long, long time, but it’d be fantastic to, you know, have a look at these ones, you know, and, and see, see how well they have aged and you know, generally say it’s, um, when people ask me, well, you know, what vintages do you like? I generally tend to like the fruit from the more difficult vintages to grow for. So, you know, if you go back to 2013 and 14 in 15 vintages for me, it’ll be 18 and 20 vintages as well. It says you used where, you know, 2010, 2012, you know, I think great vintages and might’ve fantastic ones, but from a vineyard point of view, we didn’t have to do a huge amount in the vineyard.

Those ones sort of made themselves. Um, there was very little, um, intervention that we could do, but some of the work that we did in some of those lighter, uh, in some of those more difficult vintages and see the outcomes and see some of those great ones from those more difficult vintages and things like that as well. Um, you know, I’m very disappointed that we might as well. We didn’t keep, um, some of our 2011 ones back because it was a very difficult growing season. Um, and the ones were, the ones were fantastic ones. If it was a Ryan red, but it was a Barossa Valley Shiraz that we’re making and it was, it had all the classic characteristics of a classic, you know, high end Rowan red. And um, but yeah, it wasn’t, it wasn’t the style of one that we’re actually looking at doing, but you know, say the one that we’ve made in 2016 in, in some of those more challenging years, 2008 in a challenging year in that as well. I see. The outcome of those ones I think is fantastic. Brilliant. And the couple of, uh, Northern wine questions, um, very basic ones. However, what would you say is one of your all time favorite films? Uh, Shawshank redemption song. Yeah. Yep. So that, that’s, that’s my all time favorite. So basically, um, yeah, the, I suppose someone that, uh, got wrongly accused and Hey, crawling on the inside. Yeah. I don’t know if you have a

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (35:38):
quarter serious prison break. That was the brainchild, I think from Shawshank redemption because I was hooked on prison break for sure up until, I think Syria free when they went to Panama and I got [inaudible]

Adrian Hoffmann (35:49):
yeah, yeah. You gotta you gotta be, you gotta be funky after that one. I did want the prison break series as well, so that was very, very smart season. And um, I suppose law abiding citizen is a little bit, um, a little bit along the same tracks as well. So that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s up there in my favorite films as well.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (36:06):
Definitely. Definitely. Okay. And uh, music wise, well, what is your genre genre is that, you know, if, if he was to put your phone on shuffle as an example, what could we expect to hear

Adrian Hoffmann (36:20):
[inaudible] he had quite a bit of queen, so I’m a bit of a queen tragic. So yeah, as you see the film, I’ve seen it several times already, so brilliant. Right yet. So I was, um, most probably a little bit before, well before my time, cause I was born in 75, but yeah. But yeah, Def definitely a bit of a queen tragic em, but also also I suppose a lot of those, um, are I suppose more classic, classic pop types type arrangements as well. So still like listening to Elton John, uh, you know, sort of that sort of, I don’t like the whole death metal and heavy metal, but there’s these odd odd bits and pieces that I’ll pick out of it. Cause I do like the Hilltop hoods say like ACDC or [inaudible], you can always pop along to the bop along to them. But I suppose on my is probably more your classic rock more so than you’re a heavy rock and heavy metals.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (37:14):
Well that can be a bit extreme concert definitely. But I just, you said queen because, uh, when I was on the way to the Philippines with my, my wife and my children was one of the films I w w that was on the plane, uh, watched it and I couldn’t believe how they were portraying, you know, um, Freddie mercury in particular. And then if you’ve seen the live aid concert, you see how the, uh, the film core set. And then there’s a YouTube video on that. We can actually see the live performance by Freddie marker in the, uh, the films cycle and he’s just f’ing wow. It’s just sort of encapsulates what it, you know, how

special queen one, how significant they were, you know, so not very good. And, um, okay. As we draw to a close, just a couple more quick questions then. What does the future hold for Asian Hoffman and dim church for yachts?

Adrian Hoffmann (38:01):
Well, I don’t think I, I think things are going to change too much, um, for a dim church vineyards or for, or for myself. Um, you know, I was most probably very fortunate in my, uh, years that my dad handed over the reins to me very early. A lot of, a lot of, um, I suppose grape growers and farmers, they hang onto their property for a long time and then the sons don’t become as interested. Um, my, my plan would be, um, you know, as soon as my son’s willing and able, when he, and he really wants to take the bull by the horns, um, also the handy hand hand that onto him. And I’m almost where we can spend a little bit more time. I’m traveling and I’m the wall on wall on, you know, young and fit enough to walk in and spend my rest of my years chipping weeds in the vineyard and pottering around the vineyard or um, always liked a, always liked having a veggie patch. But you know, in the last 10 years I most probably haven’t had the time or anything to do that. Um, if you know, the sun takes on the vineyard or can most mopery start up a bit more of a veggie patch again and, and, and chip around in that and grow off it of my own projects again. So.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (39:00):
All right. So now lost the as well of course. Um, we’ve, what’s been happening in Australia, um, for someone like yourself, what, where would you recommend someone like ourselves, our viewers, our listeners to, to recommend to, is there a specific, uh, organization over in Australia, um, that, you know, the money would definitely go to? Who would need the help? Is there a specific,

Adrian Hoffmann (39:23):
well, I think, I think the, uh, the red cross foundations, um, and, and the Salvos, I think they’re the, they’re the ones that they’re, they’re organizations that’ll actually get, get the money to the people that are actually required and, and, uh, will actually need, need this, need the support. I think, I think the biggest thing for ’em, especially in the Bush, far in the Bush for appeals, it’s not, it’s not what’s gonna happen in the next three, three months, in six months. You know, [inaudible] whole communities are going to have to be rebuilt. So, and that’s going to take, you know, years and years and years. Um, and that’s going to take a big policy policy change from I suppose government and how the government, um, reacts. Um, and you know, we’ve got a three tiered government system in the, in, in Australia as well. But I think, I think the big biggest support that you can actually give, give to those communities is in most, you know, two, three, four years time has actually, uh, what we’ve been encouraged to do as Australians is actually get back into those communities and spend money within those communities.

Because when you, when you start spending money within those communities, Dow, they now distribute the funds though, get to employ people, keep people within the communities. Because the hardest thing in Australia in general is this, the support of rural communities and keeping people in the country. You know, we’re all going to very centralized populations, whether it’s in the big cities, whether it’s Melbourne or Sydney or Brisbane. But to keep people in those rural communities I think is very important. And the one thing you can do from a, um, from a support point of view is actually go visit those communities, stay within those communities. When, you know, when you come to Australia, you know, the big draw card is always Sydney and Melbourne. Um, when people come out to the Barossa,

we’ll go into the Adelaide Hills, you know, they, you know, they have money that comes in in the ma, their money that gets spent, you know, basically triple triples in the economy because it gets spent in that business, that business that will then spend it within the community and then that, and then the community will spend it again going forward.

So that’s really where the support is going to come from. And it’s March, probably not this year or the next year especially, you know, hopefully, hopefully my wife’s not listening and she’ll hold me to this, but I definitely, most probably in two, two years time I get back onto kangaroo Island. Um, yeah, if we can do it earlier than that, but there’s a lot of rebuilding to be done there. But to support our local community and going there and actually visiting and spending some of our money there and, and on, on the Island, on the community and they’ll, they’ll, they’ll work their way through it. And just to show you that they have the, have the support of people. Um, I think is really important.

Cult & Boutique Wine Management (41:45):
Oh, brilliant. Pronoun. It’s always good to give back. Is said definitely for show about some falling while Asian. Thank you very much. Once again, uh, enjoy the rest of the site here in the UK and throughout Europe and many more safe travels and that’s it from meets desire on behalf calls boutique. So until then, uh, all the best. Thank you. See you next time.

The Californian sector of the fine wine market has been getting a lot of attention this year, and for good reason. Over the last five years, the California 50 index has grown by an impressive 60%, leading many to take a second look.

Wine Enthusiast, one of America’s largest fine wine publications, recently collated their top ten Californian Collectibles and calculated their price performance over the last six years.  Ranging from established stalwarts such as Joseph Phelps Insignia and Opus One to highly collectable cult wines, such as Screaming Eagle.  Many of you will recognise these names, as we have been advocating the potential of Californian wines for many years now and it’s great to see our recommendations validated by the region’s ongoing positive growth.

Of the ten wines listed, we have supplied the top eight to our clients over the years and below we run through them one by one to highlight their history and growth.  Last year Liv-ex introduced their California 50 Index – which tracks the price performance of the last ten vintages of the five most actively traded Californian wines – namely Screaming Eagle, Opus One, Dominus, Harlan Estate and Ridge Monte Bello, and unsurprisingly there’s some cross over here too, with all five wines appearing in the top ten.


The first wine that we have recommended appears at number 8.  Joseph Phelps’ Insignia hails from Napa Valley and the first vintage was produced in 1974.  This Bordeaux Blend is made with fruit from cooler Napa sub-regions, such as Stag’s Leap District and Oak Knoll.  Insignia ages very well but its relatively large production helps to keep prices quite grounded. Nether-the-less the average six-year appreciation sits at 53%, and its global following and growing popularity led to our first Insignia recommendation in January 2018.


At number 7, the Colgin IX Estate Red and although the Colgin family had been making wine since the early nineties, the first vintage of this particular wine was made in 2002.  A great deal more attention was given to this winery in 2017 when luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Group (LVMH) took a 60% stake.  The IX Estate Red is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot grapes grown in the Pritchard Hill area of Napa Valley. Less than 2000 cases are produced in most vintages and the average six-year appreciation sits at 63%.  We first sold Colgin in April 2017 for £1,780 per six which has since grown in value by 19.5% to reach a market value of £2,128.


Harlan Estate placed 6th in the rankings and will be a name very familiar to many of our clients.  Founded in 1984 in the Oakville district of Napa Valley by William Harlan, this estate has developed from humble beginnings to become one of the most desired Napa wines on the market. Harlan has been popular since its first vintage in 1990 and its bold flavours, great structure and ability to age well have kept it at the top of collectors’ wish lists. The Harlan Estate brand has been popular with our clients since we first highlighted its potential in July 2017 and the average six-year appreciation sits at an impressive 64%.


Ridge Monte Bello hails from the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation and the first vintage was produced in 1962 – making it almost ancient in Californian terms!  In fact, number five of the top ten has the longest track record of any of the top collectable Californian wines.  The only wine of the bunch to be made outside of Napa Valley, Ridge is renowned for being firmly structured, complex and the ability to withstand very long term ageing.  Production quantities sit higher than most on this list at around 5,000 cases but this hasn’t got in the way of some very rapid growth of late, with the brand’s average six-year appreciation sitting at 67%.  However, we sold the 2013 vintage in March 2018 for £1,190 per six which has grown by an impressive 44% to today’s market value of £1,715 – just one example of why these wines are so exciting and full of potential.


Fourth place is reserved for a very special wine, Opus One  This is the first Californian wine we recommended, way back in 2010.  Back then we were offering twelve bottle cases of the 2006 vintage for £1,915 and today the same case has a market value of £3,060!  The other ‘special’ feature of Opus One is the partnership between Iconic Napa winemaker Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Bordeaux.  This direct connection to Chateau Mouton Rothschild has helped the estate to raise its global profile and become a market leader.  Aiming to create a wine using Californian fruit and French techniques, Opus One really hit the spot with consumers and has become the first American wine to be sold through official French negociants on La Place de Bordeaux, alongside other fine wine royalty.  Production is colossal compared to other wines on the list but at 22,000 cases this only proves the power of the brand, as Opus One has still averaged a six-year appreciation of 71%.


Number 3 reveals one of Napa’s most collectable wines – Scarecrow.  We introduced clients to this winery in April 2017 via the 2014 vintage and it soon became a firm favourite.  Demand for this small production Cabernet Sauvignon is so great that there is a waiting list to get on the waiting list!  The Inglenook property was purchased in 2002 by photographer Brett Lopez.  The existing vineyard had been planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in 1945 by the previous owner, Brett’s grandfather J.J.Cohn.  Mr Cohn had been the Chief of Production for MGM and was heavily involved in the making of The Wizard of Oz.  Lopez paid homage to his grandfather when he produced his first wine in 2003 by naming it after the brave character from the classic movie.  Production sits at around 2,000 cases and the average six-year appreciation for this wine sits at 80%.


Just missing out on the top spot is DominusOwned by Christian Mouiex of the famed Bordeaux wine merchant family and owners of Petrus, this is another example of French influence offering a helping hand.  Christian studied oenology at the University of California and fell in love with the region in the 1960s.  Famed for its minimalist stone winery at Napanook, the brand has demonstrated its power and finesse through consistent and long-lived, classic style wines.  We introduced a range of the very best vintages to our clients in May 2018 but keen collectors have been stocking up on Dominus for a few decades.  In recent years Dominus’ rate of growth has started to equal that of the region’s top performer, with a six-year appreciation of 93%.


Coming in at number one is the current reigning king of Californian wine, Screaming Eagle.  This highly collectable wine has been produced since 1992 from their Oakville winery in the Napa Valley.  Growing from initial annual production of around 200 cases, Screaming Eagle has changed hands and grown over the years and now produces around 800 cases per vintage.  Despite quadrupling their output, secondary market prices have remained high due to the collectable and iconic nature of the brand.  The current winemaker Nick Gislason has done a sterling job of keeping quality consistent and over the last six years, this wine has appreciated by 103% on average, a true jewel in the Californian wine crown.


Californian wine has been at the forefront of wine news over the last couple of years for many reasons – breaking auction sales records, consistent secondary market growth and, of course, the horrendous damage caused by annual wildfires.  The wine market has been broadening for several years now and one of the biggest land grabs has been the rapid rise of California’s share of trade by volume.  This has been matched by its price performance and is the reason why we have been recommending Californian wines as a worthwhile diversification for nearly a decade.

As the chart above shows, California’s top wines have outperformed Bordeaux by quite some margin.  This progress has reduced Bordeaux’s share of trade but this only reinforces our general outlook that a wine portfolio should be varied and represent as many of the world’s prestigious wine regions & brands as you can accommodate.  Regardless of the fantastic growth that these wines have shown, it’s still a sector of the market that is finding its feet globally and as a result, there remains ample opportunity to take positions at relatively affordable prices.

We believe that a healthy portfolio should have a good spread of regions.  Options will differ over what the ideal share should be depending on your financial plans and budget, but we are on hand to provide assistance interpreting the information or offer recommendations for balancing your portfolio.

California will continue to be an area of focus for us and our clients as we move into 2020.  If you would like to find out more about the opportunities with Californian wine, please get in touch and speak with your Portfolio Manager who will be happy to discuss wines that will fit your budget and complement your wider financial plans.