Pension Reform, Fine Wine and Taking Control

April 2015 brings us a new dawn in the way we look at pensions.

Under the new rules those over this age threshold will have total freedom to access their pensions when reaching retirement. It is now possible to take pension benefits from personal pensions without buying an annuity. 

This means that retirees will be able to withdraw capital from their personal pension and have greater control on how their hard-earned cash benefits them in the future. Now is the time to think hard about the future and be honest about what you want your pension pot to deliver and of course consult a financial adviser.

It is best to think about your goals. Short, medium and long term, and of course your commitments.

Investors are wise to diversify to minimise risk and enhance returns and a rounded portfolio will include traditional investments including equity-based products along with alternative assets and in particular tangible ones with a strong growth performance such as fine wine.

Remember that the Fine Wine market has a track record of providing average compound returns of more than 10% per annum in the medium to long term.

It also has many other benefits like the tax efficiency, which is particularly important for pension investors and generally resistant to the effects of inflation.

Fine wine is now considered by financial advisors as a means to diversify and strengthen investment portfolios.
A recent article published by Knight Frank (Wealth Report 2015) canvased the opinions of 500 wealth managers and the investment practices of their Ultra High Net Worth Clients. The report states that 6.1% of this total investment is in tangible assets including fine wine. They stated that “In our experience UNHWIs are becoming concerned about paper assets such as bonds and equities and are increasingly looking for tangible alternatives. The scarcity of luxury assets and their historic ability to hedge against inflation makes them an appealing investment proposition – it is always possible to commission a new yacht, but nobody can paint another Monet or build a classic Ferrari.” Saeed Patel,Investment Analyst Schroders

In the same respect, no-one can recreate a Lafite 1982 which at release was priced at 25.9 euros a bottle in 1983 en primeur, and at its peak reached £84,300 (1 x12-bottle case) at auction.

There is a finite amount of investment-grade wine globally and the opportunity to acquire wines from super vintages become even rarer over time. This scarcity increases again as wines reach their drinking windows.

For the new pension investor the timing could not be better to enter the fine wine market. The current price trend in Bordeaux offers superb opportunities for long term growth. The market is perfect positioned to adopt the old adage of buy at the bottom and plan to exit at the top.

For more information on the opportunities available right now contact our team on 0800 980 4509 and catch up with news and views in our free newsletter.

Neal Martin promises “a more funky” approach to en primeur reporting for The Wine Advocate following the announcement last night that Parker is to stop reviewing Bordeaux in barrel after 37 years.


Robert Parker described Neal Martin (pictured above) as “much hipper”

Speaking yesterday at a press conference in London, Martin said that he was “looking forward to covering the 14s”, as he takes over the tasting of Bordeaux in barrel from Robert Parker, a development you can read more about here.

“You are only as good as the next thing you write,” said Martin, noting that he was relishing the opportunity to bring subscribers of The Wine Advocate ( a report on this year’s primeurs.

He then warned those present at yesterday evening’s press conference in London’s Landmark Hotel that his vintage account “may be a bit more funky than in the past… wine writing should always be enjoyable to read as well as informative”.

Parker commented that he had taken on Martin because he wanted a different style of wine writing for The Wine Advocate to attract a more youthful audience.


Robert Parker announced that Neal Martin would take over rating Bordeaux en primeur at at press conference in London yesterday

“I hired Neal because I wanted a younger voice… we are always trying to reach younger demographics, it’s necessary for survival, and Neal was much hipper than me – I knew that his way of writing about wine was very different from my style.”

Parker then stressed that it would “just” be Martin who would be reviewing Bordeaux 2014 for The Wine Advocate this year, and joked, “he is the new Sheriff of Nottingham”.

He also said that he had appointed Martin in 2006 because he believed that the UK-based wine writer had the experience and ability to take on the role of covering en primeur Bordeaux.

“When I hired Neal this was part of the plan, that one day I would back away from en primeurs, and the time is perfect for me to hand over these responsibilities,” he said.

Noting that Martin has 18 years experience tasting en primeur Bordeaux, Parker stressed that his replacement’s experience was far greater than his own when he started reviewing Bordeaux for The Wine Advocate.

“Neal has 18 years’ experience, but I thought I was good enough to do the job with no experience,” he said, referring to his first en primeur report on the 1978 vintage in Bordeaux.

“He is probably the second most experienced guy to do it,” he stated.

Nevertheless, he described the en primeur report as “a huge responsibility”, and said it “was an exhausting job”.

Continuing, he said that “the Bordelais this year have more pressure than ever, with three unsold vintages in their cellars.”

He also recorded that as a result of high prices for recent lesser vintages, Bordeaux has ‘lost a big share of the American market, the wines are disappearing from restaurants, and a lot of that is their [the Bordelais] fault – they have not been realistic with prices on 2011s, 12s or the 13s.”

While Martin will be covering Bordeaux in barrel, Parker will continue to cover the region’s wines in bottle, and Parker will be going to Bordeaux in March to rate the 2012s, while he will be doing a retrospective assessment of 2005 Bordeaux in April.

Martin has been working for The Wine Advocate since 2006 and is based in Guildford. He has been covering Burgundy for the publication, and since last year Oregon too, while he also reports on the wines from South Africa, which he described yesterday as “one of the most exciting New World countries”.

He also said that he does “a bit on Tokaji and Madeira because I love the wines”.

Referring to his seven reporters (listed below), who were all present in London yesterday, Parker said, “The common theme of this group is that they are all very independent minded, very knowledgeable, and very gifted at what they do.”

Fine Wine Seized

Fine Wine is always been a desirable product. See the link below on how a huge seizure in Thailand has turned over individual 20,000 items including rare Fine Wines including Chateau Petrus worth $4,000. Many people are asking how much Fine Wine is hidden away across the world, simply being used as a means of holding funds outside of the usual means of banking and other investments. Other Items included Rolex watches, Fine Art and a large collection of cars.


Source: ABC News