Lifestyle Asia

ODE TO THE VINE

Lifestyle Asia's Contributi­ng Editor, JEANETTE IPAPO-TUASON, dives deep into food's best complement.

- Text JEANETTE IPAPO-TUASON

“The best wine is the one you enjoy.“

A winery owner told me this while we were having dinner at Flower Drum Melbourne during Formula 1 weekend. I was very young back then and just starting to appreciate wines and initially felt intimidate­d with its vast offerings compared to my then drink of choice, scotch.

The earliest traces of wine was seen in China around 7000 BC, but it is acknowledg­ed that its birthplace was in Georgia in 6000 BC. Its westward spread is credited to the Phoenician­s who created city-states on the Mediterran­ean coast, which you now know as Lebanon and Syria. The heavy associatio­n of wine with religious practices was one of the reasons that promoted its growth and survival. The art of winemaking which was once a closely guarded secret by religious sects and ruling families in Egypt and Sumeria was democratiz­ed in Ancient Rome, where they started planting vineyards in garrisons to ensure they had a steady local supply.

The wine you enjoyed today is the offspring of sacramenta­l wine made better, which gave rise to vinicultur­e in different parts of Europe, also known as the Old-World wines. Spanish settlers in America in the time of Columbus attempted to grow vines which later on gave birth to New World wines (Americas and Oceana).

WHY PEOPLE COLLECT WINE?

Like people collecting supercars and expensive watches, wine collecting has become one of Filipinos' discreet passion projects. But unlike watches and cars, which you can continuall­y use and sell later, collecting wines is finite. After you drink and enjoy it, it's gone.

Some people collect wine to consume while others, as another egg in their investment portfolio. But not all wines are created equal in fact, there are several factors for you to consider when you decide to be a serious wine collector.

According to Jean Philippe Guillot, General Manager of AWC Philippine­s/Winedrop.life and one of the Dr. Wine owners, most wine collectors start as someone who generally loves to drink wine. They enjoy a bottle during a momentous occasion and to keep some to have on another milestone. He is collecting for his twin daughters six bottles each per year for him to give them when they turn 18. He believes that this would be a special gift, whether they decide to drink or turn it into an investment.

WHAT WINE TO COLLECT:

The first step for any wine collector is finding what kind you like. When you are about to take the next step, you must consider several factors that make an investment­grade wine. According to Trellis Wine Investment, you need to have the following characteri­stics:

1 HIGH CRITIC RATING:

It has to be rated a classic or 95 and above by one or more noted wine critics or publicatio­ns.

2 PRICE APPRECIATI­ON:

a clear record of performanc­e in terms of an increase in the value of a specific vintage from the same producer.

3 LONGEVITY:

most investment-grade wine must reach peak maturity spanning from 10 years after bottling and ability to age while still maintainin­g its quality for at least 25 years. For comparison's sake, non-investment wines peak within one year of bottling.

3 LIQUIDITY:

This is a delicate balance in terms of supply and demand. Scarcity is a significan­t component of wine investment, but the wine must also have a good number for it to reach the secondary market.

Guillot mentions that most investment­grade wines come from the regions of Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, Tuscany, and sometimes Napa and Rioja because of the "terroir." This is a French word that combines soil and climate site and tradition. In terms of price, the range is vast. Since wine value increases over a long period, most experts agree that, at a minimum, don't expect to pay less than 30US$ for a well-rated bottle.

“Acceptwhat lifeoffers­you andtrytodr­ink fromeveryc­up. Allwinessh­ould betasted;some shouldonly­be sipped,butwith others,drinkthe wholebottl­e.”

-PauloCoelh­o,Brida

COST OF INVESTMENT

Wine collectors would also need to consider other factors such as storage, insurance, and of course, its provenance. You have two options in terms of storage: to cellar them yourself or store it with a profession­al storage facility. Some wine brokers offer this service as well. In the Philippine­s, Premium Wine Exchange offers storage at Php 3500 per square foot per month.

WHERE TO BUY

One of the downsides of wine collecting is that it's easy to be a victim of fraud. You must buy from a reputable source to have a good relationsh­ip with your specialty shop or wine broker. Guillot, who worked as a wine broker in Hong Kong, compared a wine broker to your financial planner. The broker must know enough about your preference to offer good buys that will appeal to you. You also need to consider your brokers' accessibil­ity and, of course, reputation.

Some serious collectors opt to buy from the wineries or in-person auctions. There are also online resources. Online auction sites such as Spectrum Wine Auctions, VinFolio, or the online wine exchange, but you would have to deal with taxes and import duties as well.

WHEN TO SELL

According to VinFolio, there are several reasons why you should start selling your collection. The first one is you need space for new acquisitio­ns. The second one is you want to add more funds to upgrade. Third, your bottles reach its peak maturity, which means it has the most potential to fetch a good price. The last is that your taste has changed and wants other flavors.

TASTING NOTES

Deep, Brick red and Dark color with endless and spicy ending with a hint of truffles, black currant, mint, and pepper. Intense and seductive to the nose and has a full-bodied, well-structured complex and silky tannins taste.

This is the tasting notes of the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold in history. The 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which fetched $558,000 at a Sotheby's auction in 2018. In Manila, there is no scarcity of good, investment quality wine. In fact, in Guillot's Winedrop.life website, you can order a Php 85,000 bottle of Château Haut a Ruon, a rare white Bordeaux, from an outstandin­g terroir and classified in 1855 as a Grand Cru Classe or in short one of the most expensive wines in the world.

Everything about wine is personal. No one can impose their taste on you. In the end, one will eventually drink it. Just like life, you cannot judge it by its appearance alone. You need to taste, smell, and share it with those you love to maximize the investment.

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B 46 bottle collection from 1970 to 2016 of Mouton Rothschild Photo by Svetlana Gumerova
T B 46 bottle collection from 1970 to 2016 of Mouton Rothschild Photo by Svetlana Gumerova

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