Meet the London-based investment company that’s turning wine into gold
We all love a glass of red at the end of a long day at the office, but how many of us have considered how that specific bottle ends up on our dining room table? For many among us, we’ll take the word of the sommelier at our favourite restaurant, or our most-trusted wine merchant. But who do they seek advice from? It’s probably a man like Daniel Carnio, a key player in the investment wines market.
With roots buried deep in the heart of Italian wine-country, it’s probably fair to say that the wine industry chose Carnio, rather than the other way around. He grew up in a family vineyard in Italy, and, according to his family, picked his first grape at the age of three. Fast-forward to present day, and Carnio has all the bona fide credentials of fine wine’s prodigal son: a wine-making degree, personal relationships with the brightest and best winemakers in Europe, a track-record of consulting for Michelin-starred restaurants in London and his own wine investment company, with a reputation for delivering consistent profitability in the wine-investment game.
Carnio founded his company OenoFuture (Oeno being Greek for ‘pertaining to wine’) in 2015 to meet a growing demand for high-end wine distribution in the international market, but soon realised that his skills, along with those of business partner Xiaowei Huang, could be better served in a consulting capacity for those looking to invest their capital in tomorrow’s best-selling wines.
To the layman, it may sound a little on the absurd side that the world’s favourite dining table tipple may serve as a legitimate business investment, but, according to the Financial Times, fine wines outperformed both blue chip stocks and gold for return on investment in 2017. If you invested in gold during 2017, you’d likely yield a meagre 1.4% rise in value for your efforts, while floating money on the right FTSE 100 stock would see you gain a more respectable 6.6% return. According to the Liv-ex 1000, the index charting the values of the world’s leading 1000 fine wines, a calendar-year investment in wine yielded 11.3%. Not bad.
And it’s OenoFuture’s astute utilisation of the Liv-ex 1000 which has seen the company ride the wave of the current wine renaissance. By 2018, Carnio and his colleagues had expanded their wine-trading empire to include satellite offices in the Liv-ex-rich regions of Tuscany and and Bordeaux, with the intention of increasing efficiency of procurement and distribution, in addition to their headquarters in central London.
The fine wine industry is on the cusp of a new era of growth and opportunity. Recent trends have seen the market demand move firmly away from a heavy reliance on Bordeaux, diversifying into other areas, including an emergence in China, as well as in the orchards of California and Tuscany. This rise in challengers has seen the development of a more competitive marketplace, which creates a fertile ground for would-be investors.
And that’s where OenoFuture comes in. The company acts, for want of a better expression, as a broker, using its group of experts and sophisticated metrics to monitor the world’s elite wines that are on the brink of a rise in value – while looking to offload units of fine wines which have reached their optimal value. The art, according to OenoFuture’s investment experts, is to hold a diverse portfolio, allowing the holders to balance high-risk high-reward ranges with more steady holdings to strengthen the investor’s hand and protect them against any market eventuality.
As a part of its service, OenoFuture promises frequent and reliable market updates, to ensure investors are well-informed and their next moves are considered delicately. Each investor is partnered with a dedicated Account Manager, who serves as a personal port of call throughout the investment cycle – including implementing a robust and cohesive exit strategy when the time is right, ensuring that investors’ capital is protected right through the journey. OenoFuture operates on a commission-based system, which allows the company to take a nominal cut for its services based on profits made on exit from the market. Simply put – the company only makes money on your investment if you do.
One might say that this industry is ripe for the picking.