Looking at wine and spirits as an investment opportunity isn’t a new idea, but it’s a growing one that seems to be getting more mainstream acceptance — and regulatory approval.
One category leader, Vint, actually worked with the Security Exchange Commission to alter the rules about how Americans could more easily invest in rare wines and spirits. “I spent nine months with the SEC, setting up a structure that allows us to curate collections of wines, spirits, as well as futures,” Vint CEO Nick King told Decanter. “With our SEC filing, we’re able to offer all of this as an investable asset class to a more average American consumer.”
Vint’s business model is to build “thematic collections of investment grade wine and spirits” with a track record of performance. Those assets are turned into offerings for investors on Vint’s platform (they can even add their Vint portfolio to their individual retirement accounts). Given that fine wine has returned about 8.5% annually and historically has differed from results in traditional markets — it can thrive or do OK even during recessions — Vint represents a unique way to look at, say, a 2010 DRC Romanée-Conti or a 50-year-old bottle of The Macallan (it’s not to sip or place on your mantel — it’s your retirement!). The company offers about 10 collections per month, ranging from $25,000 to $500,000.
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“‘Our average American investor is between 45-55, and they are a high earner and fairly wealthy,” King told Decanter. “The interesting element is, in general, wine is not one of their top two passions. They are pretty sophisticated when it comes to investing. The main value proposition that they’re looking for here is diversification in an uncorrelated asset class.”
Vint’s latest innovation is pretty straightforward: The Vint Marketplace, a rare wine and spirits retail space that offers about $18 million in inventory. Not only does it give U.S. consumers a more direct way to purchase these unicorn bottles, but it also gives Vint additional consumer insight into the interest of people investing in the wine and spirits world.
Vint isn’t the only website that looks at wine and spirits as a tradeable/buyable/sellable asset. Over the past few years we’ve seen BlockBar (which trades in NFTs that correspond with real-life spirits bottles), CaskX (where accredited investors can invest in full barrels of Scotch and bourbon) and even a dedicated Whiskey Fund. And if those investments aren’t tactile enough, there’s always the auction route — and Sotheby’s even allows you to buy a fully-stocked wine cellar in a few clicks.
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