Published 14 June 2013
Do you use Zoopla to find out what your house is worth? Do you own any cases of wine? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you are going to love Wine Owners.
Wine Owners describes itself as a full service asset management and trading exchange. Basically, it helps you track the value of wines you own, and acts as a sales platform to match-make private buyers and sellers.
So is it just an eBay for wine?
No, far from it.
Firstly, it provides some meaty price data. Taking the old adage that something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay, Wine Owners calculates the price a wine is likely sell for by using some seriously elaborate algorithms. Created by their full-time statistician, they take ten million past sale prices from Wine Searcher, look at the spread and how the prices are clustered, remove outliers (i.e. ridiculously high prices), and recalculate a minimum price and a mid-price. Then, considering supply characteristics (such as availability), they work out whether the wine is likely to sell for the minimum price or whether it is more likely to hit the mid range. The figure they come out with is NOT just an average price!
Secondly, the trading platform empowers buyers as well as sellers. Not only can sellers state the price they’d be prepared to sell their wine for, but buyers can also make the first move by broadcasting a price that they’d like to pay for a specific wine. Wine Owners then checks its database, alerts users who have registered this wine, and asks them if they want to sell. I need to add here that Wine Owners states it is completely independent; it has no exclusive merchant relationships, does not buy or sell wine, nor does it participate in trading. Its revenue model is based on trading commissions, so there is no conflict of interest.
Thirdly, it focuses on provenance. The Wine Passport feature records storage, inspection and valuation information to give wines an audit trail to add authenticity and provenance to more wine sales. I agree with Wine Owner founder, Nick Martin, when he says, “we expect the principle of provenance-building to become increasingly important and valued in the future.”
The minute you step onto the site you realise there’s a lot going on. Luckily, there is a ‘getting started’ tab which runs you through the basics. Within 5 minutes you will be creating your first virtual cellar, full of the wines you already own, and using the cool tools to analyse your collection.
Wine Owners claims to be “the world’s first independent full service solution for portfolio management, storage, valuations and trading in fine wines.” Although there are quite a few trading platforms, I’ve not seen one that offers the range of features that Wine Owners does. “There are others out there who use terms like portfolio management when they are referring to a glorified spreadsheet without the proper price discovery, history, analytics, comparison tools and rich content we offer” declares Martin. “Integrating really strong management, analytical and pricing tools with assured trading creates a true end-to-end set of joined up processes that simplifies the life of a collector and makes research, price discovery, sourcing and disposals easier and quicker.”
So, what does the future hold for Wine Owners?
They’ve been building a client base since late 2012 and aim to have several thousand users by late summer 2013. This is important if the USP that allows buyers to seek sellers is to work. I was happy when Nick Martin reassured me that, although they may introduce some premium, paid-for services, “there will always be a free to use site for everyone who wishes to use Wine Owners to manage, analyse and value their collections.”
I wish them luck. I’ve already listed my wines and I’ll certainly be using their pricing tools before I buy anything in the future.