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Wealthy wine investors ‘not out for financial gain’

Wine isn’t seen as a worthwhile alternative investment by the rich, according to a new report commissioned by Barclays.

In a global survey of over 2,000 people worth at least £1m each, most cited wine last in a shortlist of ‘treasure assets’ – including fine art, classic cars, precious jewellery and antique furniture – that they’d regard as alternatives to standard investments.

Most wine collectors said they do it for enjoyment, consider their cellars ‘priceless’, and would not even bequeath them to their children.

Respondents from only two locations – Singapore and Hong Kong – mentioned wine among their top three choices for alternative investment.

‘We’re hearing a lot about “SWAG” (silver, wine, art, gold) assets that people are supposedly buying and holding,’ said Greg Davies, head of Barclays Behavioural Finance and Philosophy, who helped with the analysis published in Wealth Insights – Profit or Pleasure?

‘We wanted to determine their genuine motivations. Are they doing it because they think these are great investments, or for enjoyment, or other reasons?

‘Overwhelmingly, the evidence came back that the other classes of motivation trumped the purely financial.’

Gary Boom, managing director of Bordeaux Index, was not surprised by the report, saying: ‘Every time the Financial Times runs a comparison of alternative assets – modern art, furniture, guns, stamps, you name it – wine always comes out on top.
‘But the PR machine for modern art, for example, is extraordinarily strong, while wine as an asset has not been well-marketed.

‘A lot has been promised but not delivered. And it’s true that there aren’t many who have made it easy for people to invest in wine.’

Written by Maggie Rosen

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