Talking fine wine with OenoTrade’s Olivier Gasselin
In just a handful of years fine wine investment company OenoFuture has gone from being the new kid on the block to one of the most dynamic and innovative names in the industry. Today OenoFuture is the only fine wine investment company to be a member of the WSTA (Wine and Spirits Trade Association) and earlier in the year they were awarded Fine Wine Investment Firm of the Year for 2019 by The European Global Business and Finance Awards.
Now ready for yet more challenges, the company has recently welcomed aboard Olivier Gasselin to take up the position of director of trade at the brand-new OenoTrade branch. We caught up with Olivier to hear all about this exciting project and to find out what makes London’s fine wine scene so special.
How did you discover your passion for fine wine?
I first entered the wine trade in 2001 and fell in love with wine while working first in retail and later as a sommelier at top restaurants like Coq d’Argent, Le Pont de la Tour, and Hakkasan. Working for these restaurants honed my knowledge and my passion for fine wine and has given me a bulging address book of friends all over the world who share my values. After enjoying a wealth of experiences at Hakkasan including supporting the opening of new restaurants in the Middle East, in Asia, in Europe and North Africa, I decided it was time to pursue my love of fine wine further by crossing the line from buyer to supplier.
Tell us how OenoTrade works and what makes it special.
London is a wonderful place to buy, sell, and drink fine wines, and there is no shortage of merchants and suppliers. Where OenoTrade is different is our exceptionally-talented team, our huge list of supplier contacts, and our very way of doing business. Ultimately, the wine industry is about people and we try to use this as our greatest strength.
Together with Daniel Carnio, our chief executive officer, we have amazing contacts in the fine wine world which allows us to source wines we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to get hold of. For example, we are the exclusive UK supplier of Liber Pater wines. These kinds of achievements only come about through carefully nurturing and growing relationships with the people behind the brands.
I also bring a wealth of contacts from the premium restaurant trade which continually opens up doors for our business. The whole Oeno brand is built on trust and transparency, and it is this approach which has allowed us to partner with respected brands with Michelin stars. We aim to offer a premium service to our clients and one of my favorite things that we do is to ask restaurants for their fine wine wish list. This makes sure we are fully focused on our clients needs and we are small enough to make recommendations and advise on their fine wine list.
What would you say is OenoTrade’s unique selling point?
I would probably highlight two, if that’s allowed. Firstly, we are in a unique position as part of a fine wine investment company. Almost half of our portfolio of around 250 wines is made up of our private clients’ wines which means we have access to some truly exceptional and exciting wines. These wines are always stored in perfect conditions at Vinotheque and can be delivered next day. We have access to important quantities of particular fine wines and older vintages which are no longer available on the mainstream market. For example, we have 60 bottles of six different vintages of the fabulous Castello di Ama Vigna L’Apparita which is one of the world’s rarest wines.
Secondly, our excellent client relationships mean we are able to offer wines on consignment. This can be very useful for smaller restaurants who may not have the resources to hold a diverse portfolio of fine wines in their cellar.
You mentioned earlier that London is a great place to drink fine wine. So, when your work is done where’s your go-to spot for a glass or two?
At the moment I really enjoy going to Passione Vino in Hackney which has great wines at soft prices accompanied by excellent cheese and charcuterie platters.
Image at the very top of the article shows Olivier Gasselin (left) and Daniel Walker (right), head of investment at OenoFuture.