Investing in wine: my wine story


In the latest post in our series about wine investment, James Waller talks about how he first discovered his passion for wine and why he now chooses to invest in it.

The wallersMy love of food was really the thing that opened my eyes to wine. I used to work in marketing and I’d be entertained in very good restaurants and put in front of really good wines – it was during this time that I realised that wine takes food to the next level. Then I started to take advice from wine merchants and I began to understand what I actually like, rather than what I thought I should like, which was quite a surprise! I realised that these were things like Rhône wines, which are affordable and go far better with everyday food than some blockbuster Bordeauxs, which you’ve really got to be pretty careful what you eat with them.

My first memories of wine were from when we used to go on holiday to France.  I remember visiting Ch. Monbazillac one year, on the way back from a family camping holiday – the car was already bulging under the strain of all our camping stuff, but Dad was determined to take a case of it home. Five or six years later he gave me a glass of the same wine at the end of a Sunday dinner. That was when I began to understand why Dad (in the picture above with me) was so interested in wine.

Despite having a passion for matching food and wine, I also buy to drink and to invest. About four years ago I put a nominal sum into a Cellar Plan and I’ve done very well out of it. I’ve been buying ever since, building an investment portfolio on one side and what I intend to drink on the other. Now that my Dad’s finally set up a Cellar Plan too, after me nagging him for years, we go to the tastings and go round together marking the wines – I personally get a lot of satisfaction in finding wines that are brilliant value and stand up to what are deemed the numero uno of that region. And then I keep it to myself!

Whether you are investing in wine for pleasure or for investment purposes it remains one of the most interesting commodities around.  I set about looking for an investment some years ago…wine investment seemed to offer “all” the personal benefits from consumption and intellectual stimulation in terms of reading up on what you have purchased and keeping abreast of the vintages and their offerings; and last but not least financial gain. I still believe that you can invest in the “blue chip” wines –Latour, Margaux, Lafite, or even secondary houses such as Lynch Bages, Cos d’Estournel or Palmer, and benefit in such a way that would enable you to sell some wine off through the years to support your own personal drinking of cheaper, but excellent, wines for now or years to come…your personal cellar!
Risk is the same for any investment – the bigger the risk the higher the potential return, and with wine the journey and education is certainly worth it. It’s not wrong to say that wine, since the Second World War, has performed up amongst the best investment vehicles out there (property, FTSE – Top 500). From as little as £200 per month you can achieve good growth if you buy the right wines or if you have a lump sum to invest you can have fun building up the cellar that suits you.
I am certainly pleased that I took the jump of faith into wine investment and that I have been well advised and guided by BBR’s investment team. I am looking forward to drinking fine wine in the future and the occasional special bottle!!!