Wine could be a more viable investment choice than gold bolstered by rising prices of fine wines amid weakening Chinese renminbi, rising geopolitical tensions, escalating China-US trade war and rising fears of economic recession in Hong Kong roiled by months long protests.
Traditional assets such as gold for instance is an ideal hedge against market risks and normally would rise in value against volatility in overall economic slowdown and currency fluctuations. Its price has held a six-year high since 2013 as investors rush to park money on the precious metal as a haven against market uncertainties.
More recently it seems that fine wine has emerged as the new liquid gold in asset investment, and notably as founder of Lix-ex Anthony Maxwell argues wine is even more stable than gold based on the performances of Liv-ex 100 wines last year.
And the fastest growing platform in Asia riding on this trend is WWXplorer or WWX, a multi-location and multi-currency wine trading platform based in Hong Kong, the Asian wine hub.
The city’s interest for wine investment remains bullish, particularly on top-end grand cru Burgundies, first growths Bordeaux and other blue chip wines.
Meanwhile, the city’s wine auction scene is blistering with collectors bent on breaking world records to snatch rarefied bottles for collection and investment.
Launched in October 2017 by Mariana Lam, the platform has outgrown a simple trading platform, where its entire operation is usually anchored on price competitiveness, to become what the founder calls ‘an ecosystem’, where it supports trading, warehousing, logistics and wine asset management.
Additionally, users can monitor a wine’s trading prices and historical performance in three most active global wine hubs, namely the UK, France and Hong Kong, the same as stocks.
“We launched our Technical Analysis module in early June 2019. This gives users a rich source of data and insights into any major fine wine’s price performance from a month ago, all the way to up to 5 years ago. Volatility, maximum and minimum priced listings for a wine at any day, as well as a graphical display of the price range of majority of listings are all clearly illustrated. This is an especially helpful tool for all wine lovers with an interest in wine investment,” explained Lam, adding the feature is one of three key features that a new user can expect from the platform.
There are also a few tools and features from the website that can help a user stay on top and ahead of the curve such as the Watchlist, My Wine module and the technical analysis page to monitor and track prices against different markets in real time.
In the fourth quarter this year, the platform will launch a wine portfolio management feature and analysis tools that essentially would act like ‘a bank statement style summery of your wine portfolio anytime and anywhere you want’, Lam explains.
This feature would allow users to directly compare wine to other finance index to evaluate a fine wine’s performance.
‘This will enable users to not only track the costs and current locations of their updated wine collection, but also get a graphical summary of the performance of their wine portfolio over time, with the option of benchmarking against key wine and finance index of the world. Additionally, users can also get a sense of colour, style, vintage, critic score, drinkability distribution of their wine portfolio’, she commented.
The platform’s pioneering work in Asia has not gone unnoticed. It’s recognised by Mediazone and given the Most Valuable Services Award 2019.
Looking back at the experiences of setting up a holistic wine service platform, Lam confessed ‘faith, patience and communication’ are pivotal when combining technology and wine for a trading platform.
“A personal example, I’ve used almost 6 months time to convince and align with one of the most supportive Trade Professional users on WWX. For anyone who is interested to launch wine tech models, keep it in mind that you must have absolute faith in your offering and do not lose heart easily when your stakeholders give you the cold shoulder or appear uninterested initially,” she exclaimed.