Berrys’ Broking Exchange has brought a new dimension to buying and selling wine. Here, two BBX users describe their experience of the service to date, one as a seller, the other as a buyer
Last year we launched Berrys’ Broking Exchange (BBX), a brand new online marketplace where customers can sell wine from their private reserves held with us, and buy from other Berrys customers. One of the first people to use it was City trader Martin Vestergaard (right), who has been buying wine from Berrys since 2003.
Martin, originally from Denmark, buys most of his wine en primeur, and favours Burgundy, Bordeaux and Rhône wines, with a little Italian thrown in. “I buy for my own consumption but I buy it with investment glasses on,” he says. “I think BBX is one of the best things that’s happened in a long time in this market, because it gives transparency and it’s a global platform. It makes it easy to sell your wine.
“I found BBX as straightforward as could be. Before, the alternative was to put your wine on a broking list, where you’ve got no traction. I have never in my entire life managed to sell anything from a broking list. It just doesn’t work.” What really appeals to Martin about BBX is that he can set the price at which he sells his wine. And he’s been pleasantly surprised by the prices that some of his wine has achieved, a fact he puts down to Berrys’ reputation.
“The name carries a massive amount of weight. For people who are going to buy Lafite or Pétrus, say, it’s provenance, provenance, provenance; it’s not whether you save a thousand pounds a case on those big wines. You might save that, but you have no idea where the cases have been. Berry Bros. & Rudd has a name for high quality.
“I tend to buy directly from Jake my account manager. I’m always buying something from him in any en primeur release, knowing I can always list it on BBX. I get zero per cent interest in the bank, so if I can make five per cent in a year on wine, that’s better for me, particularly when it’s tax-free. I try to buy across the board, and to finance the bigger wines by selling the lesser ones. I try to optimise my vintages, but if they’re wines I really like I don’t sell them.”
While Martin has focused on using BBX to sell wine, fellow Dane Jacob Strauss (right) has been buying. Jacob, who works in banking, has lived in England for 16 years and has been a Berrys customer for five. He looks on BBX about once a week to see if anything catches his eye.
“For me it’s about finding good deals. All of a sudden BBX has given me a window to find wines I’m really keen to acquire or need more of. The Berrys name means a lot: if you’re buying a £2,000 case of wine, you need to know where it comes from.” The Berrys ‘no quibble’ guarantee reinforces that buyer confidence, as does the knowledge that any wines he does not want to keep he can place back on sale with BBX, without having to take it out of bond and pay tax.
Jacob’s main interests are Champagne and red Bordeaux. A big fan of Pauillac, his best value purchase to date was a consignment of 2005 Ch. Batailley. “It’s a wine we really like to drink at home and I didn’t have any ’05. I saw some on BBX and bought three or four cases.”
Both he and Martin keep abreast of the value of their portfolios on Liv-Ex, the online exchange for fine wine merchants, so they were impressed to see the new valuation function on BBX, which is linked to Liv-Ex. “It’s a very good little tool,” says Martin.
Whether you buy for your own consumption or for investment, BBX has brought a new dimension to the buying and selling of private reserves. “It’s added interest. It’s fun,” says Jacob. And as Martin puts it, “It’s a much more vibrant market. BBX actually makes wine more liquid.”
For futher information please see our BBX overview, the BBX FAQs or How to Sell on BBX
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