Storing fine wine in bond
The easiest way to prove unquestionable provenance is to store fine wine in wooden cases in bond (IB) in a bonded warehouse such as London City Bond or Octavian Vaults. Such bonded warehouses provide the optimum environment for fine wine storage, by carefully regulating temperature, humidity and other microclimatic factors.
Bonded warehouses have often built up a trusted reputation over centuries in the UK and are also subject to strict rules, the result being an audit trail for every case stored in bond, which provides you with a solid method for tracing provenance.
In addition wines stored IB are not liable for VAT as they are considered ‘in transit’. A case of IB wine may change hands multiple times without ever leaving the bonded warehouse which removes the risk of damage and disruption. As owner of IB wine you will hold certificates which prove your ownership of the wine as a physical asset- a significant advantage over non-physical assets such as equities which hold no inherent value, other than the paper they are printed on.
Wines stored in their original wooden casing (OWC) hold most market desirability and garner the best prices. Non-OWC cases sometimes are found in cardboard cases, or in original cases with replacement lids.
Duty paid cases
Wines that have been removed from bond, and thus have had the Excise Duty and VAT paid on them (DP), will generally command a lesser price than those which have never been removed from bond. From a buyer’s perspective, IB cases are far more desirable than DP cases as they can offer immaculate provenance.
With cases of wine that are of a significant age, a certain degree of soiling or damage to labels is to be expected. Wine bottle labels yellow or wrinkle naturally over time whilst being stored at optimum temperature and humidity. Thus, as long as provenance is impeccable, soiling of this kind in aged bottles should not detract from value.
When purchasing fresh stock, one should ensure that labels and capsules are in mint condition, that wine levels are into the bottle neck (with some exceptions for certain wines in certain vintages), and that bottles come in OWC.
A number of the most desirable wine brands have been taking measures to battle the counterfeit trade that has sprung up as prices for their wines have soared. The Prooftag system has been adopted by some producers, including all the wines of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild (beginning with the 2009 vintage), a technology on all bottles that means that they can be traced and validated upon request.
Investing with Cult Wines
This essential brochure will take you through our investment process, fine wine investment merits, provenance and portfolio creation.