Investors who want to make a play in the highs and lows of valuable wines can now do so through a recently launched mutual fund.
The Oracle Paradis Wine Fund was launched in December with the goal of buying under-valued bottles of vintage wine and other valuable spirits to provide uncorrelated returns for investors.
The fund's managers say the time may be ripe for such investments. Wine price levels are below their 2008 and 2009 peaks and have generally drifted slightly down in the last year, said David Nathan-Maister, director of the fund, which was launched by the Oracle Capital Group, a London-based independent multifamily office. The fund invests in classic Bordeaux and Burgundy wines, rare cognacs aged in the 18th and 19th centuries and Scotch whiskies from before 1940.
“They have fallen as a consequence of the overall global economic downturn, but our active trading strategy gives us the potential to make profits even in a flat market,” Nathan-Maister said.
In 2012, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index, which tracks the price of the best vintages, fell 9 percent, he said.
“Wine is a unique asset offering intrinsic value much like property and commodities. When you take a three- to five-year view, prices appreciate and can yield 10-percent annual returns depending on your investment,” said Martin Graham, chairman of the advisory board for the Oracle Capital Group.
The wealth boom in China and other emerging markets has had a heavy influence on the price of wine and other high-end luxury collectibles, according to experts.
“There's strong demand from China that continues to prop up the value of first-growth Bordeaux and other high-end segments around the world,” said Robin Goldstein, author of a wine guide entitled, “The Wine Trials.”
The fund has attracted about $3 million in investments since launch and currently has an inventory worth about $4 million, according to fund officials.
Weather is the main risk of investing in wine, experts note.