Want to know what wine brokers do, and whether they can help you invest in fine wine?
You may have come across many brokers - some who sell wine and spirits on behalf of distributors, and others who promise you a highly rewarding long-term wine investment.
But, do you really need a broker to invest in fine wine?
And even if you do, how do you choose the right one?
To answer your queries, we’ve put together this guide on wine brokers. We’ll cover why you should hire one, and how to choose one. You’ll also discover a way to easily and reliably invest in fine wine.
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- Who is a Wine Broker?
- Why Should You Hire a Wine Broker?
- Things You Should Look for in a Wine Broker.
- Investing in Fine Wine Bottles Through Vinovest.
Let’s get started.
Who is a Wine Broker?
A wine broker is an independent agent who buys and sells wine for or on behalf of others for a commission.
They could be employed part time or full-time with wine brokerage houses or distributors, with an average salary of over $57,000 a year. They are well-versed in wine marketing, and are usually qualified with a Society of Wine Educators certification and a bachelor's degree in management.
Types of Wine Brokers
Here’s a look at three broad types of wine brokers.
- A bulk wine broker like Turrentine Brokerage deals with bulk wine in the spirits industry. The wine is shipped in containers (ISO tanks, flexitanks) rather than in bottles or small packaging.
Bulk wine is mass-produced wine whose grapes may be sourced from various countries, and not necessarily the viticultural area that it’s label belongs to.
- A wine sales rep or broker is one who liaises between wineries and distributors or customers. In some cases, they are hired by distributors to expand their retail distribution.
They often take samples to potential customers (restaurants, hotels, retailers) for tasting, and pass on orders to the seller (wineries, importers, distributors, or other brokers).
- A wine investment broker is the one who acts as a liaison between investors and wineries, auction houses, or distributors.
The best investment brokers choose the right investment-grade wines for you to invest in and help you sell them at the best prices after many years.
Here’s a deeper look into what value a broker can add to wine investing:
Why Should You Hire a Wine Broker?
To help you decide whether you should hire a broker, let’s just turn the table - let’s see what you’d have to do if you were to find, buy, store, and sell wine bottles yourself.
(Would you like to know about the different ways of investing in wine? Then check out this article.)
- Wine industry knowledge: You should have a thorough understanding of the wine business - all aspects of wine production, the logistics of winemaking, the distribution process, and the market risks involved.
- Expertise in validating a wine’s authenticity: You’ll need the expertise of a sommelier to validate the authenticity of investment-grade wines.
- Deciding where to buy from: You have to choose among auction houses, wine exchanges, wineries, and boutique stores - all of which come with a fairly high commission or buyer’s premium.
- License: To import wine, you need a license. For e.g. in the United States, you need a federal license and an ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) permit.
- Storage: To store wine yourself, you need to set up a climate-controlled storage area in your home, or buy a wine cooling unit. It has to have a consistent temperature (around 55° F), humidity control (60% relative humidity) and should be kept away from light and vibration. You also have to bear the insurance and maintenance costs.
- Taxes: For wine imports, you need to deal with customs regulations, and state and federal tax and compliance laws.
Quite like taking on the wine broker job role yourself, isn’t it?
Wouldn’t it be far easier to hire a good broker?
An astute wine broker can provide you all this and more.
But how do you go about choosing one?
Here’s a look at how you can spot a good broker from the rest.
Things You Should Look for in a Wine Broker
At the bare minimum, a good broker should be experienced in all aspects of wine investing like identifying investment-grade wines, and knowing when to buy and sell.
What else should you look for?
- License and shipping experience: The broker should have the required permits, and should have prior experience in shipping wine all over the world.
- Well-maintained physical facilities: Storing your wine bottles in sub-optimal conditions will ruin your investment. Your broker should store wines with experienced storage providers like bonded warehouses.
- Deep contacts: Good wine brokering needs an established global network with the entire wine supply chain - it could be wine estates in Bordeaux, distributors and retailers in the UK, auction houses in San Francisco, and other brokers all over the world.
- Large clientele: A large, satisfied global clientele clearly indicates a broker’s credibility and reputation.
- Experience in confirming provenance and authenticity: A good broker should be able to validate the authenticity and origin of wines. They should know the fake labels or mixed and blended low-priced wines from the investment-worthy ones.
Your safest bet is to hire an expert wine investment company like Vinovest that can offer you a lucrative and safe way to invest in fine wine.
Let’s take a look at how that works:
Investing in Fine Wine Bottles Through Vinovest
Vinovest is a wine investment company that lets you buy bottles of investment-grade wines and sell them later at a higher price. With Vinovest, you could easily own premier crus or first growth wines from Bordeaux, Napa Valley, or anywhere in the world.
Let’s see how Vinovest makes it easier for you to invest in premium wines:
How to invest with Vinovest.
You need to follow a simple five-step process:
- Sign up on the Vinovest website to become a wine investor.
- Complete a questionnaire to assess your risk tolerance and investment horizon.
- Check your customized wine investment portfolio.
- Fund your investor account.
- Track your portfolio in real-time.
Advantages of Investing through Vinovest
Vinovest offers you everything you would expect from an ideal wine broker.
- Trusted Buying & Selling: Vinovest traces the provenance and checks the authenticity of each wine bottle.
- Expert wine advisory team: They have a team of three Master Sommeliers and an Advanced Sommelier to oversee the selection of wines that go into your investment portfolios.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven technology: The Master Sommeliers combine their expertise with quantitative investment models to curate your portfolio.
- Deep network: They have an extensive wine network giving them access to upcoming vineyards, private sales of wine companies, and limited releases of new wines.
- Best Prices: They source wines directly from wine makers, global wine exchanges, and merchants at the best possible wholesale prices.
- Optimal Storage: Your wine cases are stored with Vinovest in optimal conditions of humidity, temperature, air quality, light, and vibration at bonded warehouses.
- Tax Advantages: The bonded warehouse facilities charge no excise duty and VAT, allowing Vinovest to pass on significant tax advantages to you.
- Low Fees: Vinovest only charges a 2.85% annual fee (2.5% for an investment portfolio of over $50,000). This fee includes handling wine buying, wine fraud detection, storage, insurance, portfolio management, and wine selling.
- Full Insurance: Vinovest offers a full insurance policy at market value.
- Easy Selling: You can sell your wine portfolio at any time to a counterparty buyer and get the wines delivered to them.
- Ownership: You even get full ownership over the wines you invest in.
A good wine broker can help you seamlessly invest in the finest bottles in the wine world.
While there are tons of wine brokers out there, none of them offer you the convenience, flexibility and safety that Vinovest offers you.
Vinovest is clearly your best bet to select and handle your portfolio of wines and then sell them at the best prices.
Why not sign up here and let Vinovest build you a profitable fine wine portfolio right away?