New wine fund aims to raise £10m

  • Thursday 14 August 2003

A new wine investment fund is looking to raise £10m (€14m) within the next month on blue-chip wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Italy, California, Spain and Australia.

Amphora, a newly-formed company based in the Cayman Islands, is seeking investors to put up a minimum of £10,000 (€14,000). It is issuing ten million ordinary shares at £1 per share, closing the offer at the end of September.

The fund's wine advisor and director is Christopher Burr MW, chairman of internet-based wine exchange Uvine, who estimates it will take about six months to source a suitable portfolio of wines. He expects around two thirds of the fund to be made up of fine Bordeaux, but he is also looking at blue chip wines from Italy, Spain and the New World.

Burr also wants the portfolio to have more than en primeur and young wines. 'We're very interested in rare, mature, collectibles as well as investment grade wines which are approaching maturity,' he said.

As well as acquiring stock from private cellars, merchants and negociants, Amphora hopes to buy direct from chateaux and other producers wherever it can, although Burr is not expecting to source large quantities directly from chateaux in Bordeaux, which would bypass the well-established and powerful negociant supply chain. 'The majority of what we buy will go through the traditional trading channels,' Burr said.

Amphora will still be competing head to head with the auction houses for private cellars. Burr said they had a major advantage in that there would be no fees involved in the form of commission or buyer's premium. 'Plus, we can move much more quickly to buy the wine,' he said.

Subscribers will be charged a management fee of 2% per annum. A 15% performance fee will also be payable annually from April 1st 2005.

'I am confident the fund will deliver good competitive returns to investors,' says Burr. 'Once we've got a good track record, we have every intention of going on to set up similar funds in the future.'

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