Today's set of guide prices for the 2017 Bordeaux primeurs, published in anticipation of Julia's tasting notes next week, has been supplied by Wine Owners, Nick Martin's cellar-management system. He claims his system is 'doing for wine collectors what the iPod did for music lovers 20 years ago'.
Martin is an avid wine collector and investor himself, with a background in data. (He is behind the rather clever wine-management system and digital wine list at London's wine-focused private members club 67 Pall Mall, for example.) Private collectors who want to keep track of their wines, particularly those interested in wine as an investment, can simply email a spreadsheet of their wine collection to the Wine Owners team and have it automatically uploaded, organised and valued once they join.
Wine Owners cite last year's Knight Frank Wealth Report, which maintains that wine has been the best-performing of all 'passion assets' (did you realise that your bottles were a passion asset?) since the global financial crisis of 2008 as vindication of the services they offer. (Although it should be added that the Knight Frank report is based on Wine Owners data.)
There are currently more than five million bottles of fine wine logged in to the Wine Owners system, belonging to more than 15,000 users in 19 countries. A major part of their service is providing financial data, to which end they collect nearly 10 million prices a year, apparently. You can sign up free for the core cellar-management services and financial data, while enhanced services (eg longer price history and additional reporting) start at £7.50 a month. Quite a common query on our Members' forum concerns ways of recording wine collections so perhaps this will answer a need. CellarTracker is excellent but doesn't offer as much financial data or specific advice on what to buy and when to sell.
Below, for example, is Wine Owners' visualisation of a particular collector's cellar with percentages to show how much of the financial value of the cellar is accounted for by each region.
Like an increasing number of fine-wine merchants and brokers, Wine Owners also operate a trading exchange – a marketplace for fine-wine collectors and investors. Commission is 6.5% from sellers on a free access plan, then 5% for the £7.50 per month plan and 4% for those on a £20 per month plan. Buyers pay 2.5%. They claim that 'thousands of pounds worth of wine are listed, bought or sold on the exchange every hour'. The two halves of their operations are co-ordinated so that when a trade is made on the exchange side, an automatic update is made on the cellar-management side of the Wine Owners system.
Underpinning both halves of this system is a custom-built database of fine wines and prices, which has tracked the wine market wine-by-wine for over a decade. They say this data is drawn from what they call the wine world's most trusted data sources, including Wine-Searcher.com and supplemented by Wine Owners' own data. Every trading decision – buy, keep, sell – is supported by solid data, they claim, clearly presented in charts and graphs such as the example below.
For more details, see wineowners.com.