Provenance of wine '100% guaranteed' on new platform

  • Tuesday 17 January 2012

A Bordeaux wine merchant is guaranteeing the provenance of every wine it sells via its new online trading platform.

Bordeaux Wine Bank

Bordeaux Wine Bank is based in Bordeaux and organises provenance-guaranteed auctions with Sotheby’s. It launches its trading platform this week.

The Bordeaux Wine Bank Exchange (BWB-EX) will offer only 100% provenance-guaranteed wines, with certificates of origin, delivered in tamper-proof cases.

All traded wine will have its paper-trail guaranteed by BWB-EX.

While some observers question whether this is the right time to launch a high-end wine trading platform, Michael Egan, formerly of Sotheby’s and the company’s anti-fraud expert, sees the platform as a ‘guarantee against fakes’ and points to recent auction results underlining its importance.

‘Although the recent Hong Kong Sotheby’s auctions results were disappointing, the lots which were provenance-guaranteed saw prices 38% higher than identical wines without guarantee of history,’ Egan told Decanter.com.

‘A market downturn means people can be far more selective in what they purchase – only the most desirable wines will still sell.’

The trading platform will be business-to-business, and will allow chateaux as well as merchants to offer their wines.

Not everyone is convinced. ‘Provenance gains currency with the passage of time;’ Justin Gibbs of established trading platform and BWB-EX competitor Liv-ex told Decanter.com.

‘A 1961 Latour direct from the chateau commands a premium. A Latour 2009 does not.’

Egan admits that the success of the exchange depends on merchants seeing the rationale for provenance, ‘and that depends on the end consumer insisting upon it. But we believe there is an increasing market for this from high-end consumers, and that serious merchants will see the benefit.’

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