A short plane ride from the vine-covered plains of Bordeaux lies the vital center of fine wine trading: London. Bordeaux may be the winemaking industry’s capital, but if you’re an investor seeking the best opportunities to profit from fine wine, it’s London you need to keep your eye on.
London is the powerhouse of the market. It’s home to world-class auction houses Christies and Sotheby’s, and scores of wine merchants trading on a global scale. Internationally renowned wine authors and critics like Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson influence drinkers the world over from their bases in or around the UK’s capital city. The UK fine wine commodity market is quite simply the largest and most developed there is—the legacy of a centuries-old British passion for Bordeaux red.
A major draw for wine traders is the London International Vintners’ Exchange—or ‘Liv-ex’, as it’s better known. Liv-ex offers established wine merchants an online trading platform, from which they can reach an immense pool of professional buyers and sellers from all corners of the globe. Former bankers Justin Gibbs and James Miles founded the exchange in 1999. From its modest beginnings, hidden away in a rented office above a takeaway pizza joint, Gibbs and Miles have grown Liv-ex to a global membership of more than 400 trading professionals in 33 countries. Collectively, these members are thought to be responsible for a colossal 80 percent of the world’s fine wine turnover.