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Zoran Ristanovic joins us on The Cult and Boutique Show.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cult and Boutique (16:50):

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

Cult and Boutique (17:31):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cult and Boutique (21:26):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.