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New app ‘1275’ helps fine wine collectors track bottles

A mobile app that claims to set a new standard on transparency by allowing customers to more easily track the condition of their bottles - from the winery gates to storage - has been launched by Switzerland-based collections business 1275.

From tracking temperature changes during transportation to viewing storage conditions in real-time, customers of 1275 can use the new mobile app to monitor bottles purchased and stored via the company’s fine wine collections business, the group said.

Switzerland-based 1275 Collections is a relatively new player on the fine wine market scene, launched around the end of 2019, although CEO Denis Houles has worked in fine wine for more than 20 years.

Its app is more evidence of how fine wine businesses are exploring digital technology to give collectors more data.

Offering what it describes as an ‘end-to-end’ solution for collectors, 1275 specialises in sourcing wines direct from top producers, as well as offering a bespoke advisory service for wealthy buyers. Bottles are stored at its warehouse in Geneva.

Houles said a key component of the business has been giving collectors more accessible information on the provenance and condition of their wines. ‘This idea of 1275 was really to address the issue of traceability. I really think today it is the biggest issue for collectors,’ he told Decanter.

‘I’ve always been amazed by how much money has been spent by some clients on wine that they have never seen or inspected,’ said Houles, who previously founded the Claret Club, which held fine wine events for collectors in London, Paris and Geneva.

He believes the market is changing, however, and that collectors are increasingly seeking more information.

‘We monitor transport from the time [the wine] leaves the estate. We have temperature and GPS monitoring, so that we can start documenting the story of every bottle. Every bottle and case is fitted with an rfid chip.

‘Our objective is to create future-proof collections that in 20 years just by scanning the chip it will be able to tell you the [wine’s] whole history.’

Houles said he sees 1275 as part of a wider trend in the industry. ‘We’re just doing what we think is right. We don’t want to put ourselves against the trade. We all know there are some trade players that work very well.’

How the 1275 mobile app for fine wine works.

Screenshots from the 1275 mobile app. Photo credit: 1275 SA.

Via the 1275 app, created in partnership with Gravitywell in the UK, collectors will be able to scan 1275-tagged bottles to see storage conditions and travel history, including temperature changes.

They will also be able to see the latest critics’ ratings and view a direct Liv-ex feed with market data – the sorts of features which, alongside the concept of making it easier to view bottles in a collection, have been explored by other tech-savvy firms in the fine wine world, too.

Alongside standard fees for insurance and storage, 1275 customers spending €100,000 and upwards will be charged a one-off advisory fee, Houles said. The group offers a ‘discovery collection’ starting at €25,000, with no consultation fee attached, he added.

With a team of six, Houles said the firm was currently managing around €15m of wine assets and ‘we’re buying heavily at the moment’. He said winery feedback on the business had been positive, from high-end Bordeaux châteaux to leading estates in other parts of the world, such as the US or Italy.

Erik Portanger, head of strategy at 1275, said the group was backed by serious investors. Lord Browne, ex-CEO of BP, is the firm’s chairman.

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