The prices of top wines continue to increase. As of June 30, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 Index—representing the price movement of 100 of the most sought-after fine wines sold on a secondary market—is up 8.5% year-to-date and 19.7% for the past 12 months.
Wine funds offer an alternative to direct purchases and storage of collectible wines. These funds allow investors to tap professional wine-buyers’ expertise while avoiding the storage hassles.
Miriam Mascherin and Michel Tamisier—managing partners of Luxembourg-based Elite Advisers, which developed the Nobles Crus wine fund—described the ins and outs of this field in a recent interview.
When did you form Nobles Crus?
Nobles Crus was launched on 21st of November in 2007.
What’s the fund’s size and structure?
The fund size at the end of June 2011 is 43 million euros. The fund is structured like a classical SICAV, with the exception that it invests in tangible assets. It is audited by Deloitte our auditors once a year. (Note: A SICAV is an open-ended collective investment structure used in Western Europe, similar to an open-end fund in the U.S. The rough translation of SICAV is an investment company with variable capital.)
How is the fund regulated?
The fund is regulated by the appropriate Luxembourg authority.
Is there a minimum investment?
There are several ways to invest in the fund: either directly for an amount of 125,000 euros, via a management mandate, or through an insurance company. In these cases the investment can be as little as one share.
Are U.S. citizens allowed to invest in Nobles Crus?
Only through Delaware contracts or [certain] entities. Investors can also contact Elite Advisers for details.
What types of wine does the fund own?
Nobles Crus is an open-end Luxembourg specialised Investment Fund that invests in the finest vintage wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy and Spain e.g., such as Latour, Yquem and Romanée-Conti. All these wines are bought with the objective of reselling them for consumption once they have reached their apogée.
The portfolio consists of tangible assets selected in accordance with a bottom-up investment process that combines two strategies: growth investment (with 20% of the portfolio invested in en primeur wines) and value investment (with 70% invested in vintage wines). We have, for example, an 1811 Yquem in Nobles Crus’ cellar.