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🍇 🍷Conversation with Denis Houlès, creator of bespoke wine collections

Who are wine collectors? Why do they collect? How can they protect their “grands crus” and ensure that the quality of their beverages remains intact? With 1275 Collections, Denis Houlès answers all these questions
Who are wine collectors? Why do they collect? How can they protect their “grands crus” and ensure that the quality of their beverages remains intact? With 1275 Collections, Denis Houlès answers all these questions. And with his profile as a “protector” of the greatest wines ever produced by humanity and a true expert in his segment, the link-up with PSPI was a natural one. This is all the more interesting given the arrival of PSPI’s asset management and tracking tool, scheduled for launch in 2024.
Fanny Eyraud, Director of PSPI, talks to this new “business partner” about 1275’s unique positioning and the bridges between managing a living heritage like wine, and protecting it.

 

Like us, your customers are collectors. At PSPI, we like to talk about “passion investments”. What about wine?

In my opinion, “passion” and “pleasure” are the primary motivations for building a collection. Our customers are not the great collectors who enjoy the pleasure of hunting the rare gems themselves, nor the investors who actively trade (like on the stock market), but people who have the means, who love wine and enjoy themselves, and who need help with knowing what to buy.

Secondly, for our customers, it’s also a question of investing in a real, physical asset … and a profitable one.

Wine represents an average annual return of 8-9%, with a strong downside protection. It’s an interesting way for clients to diversify their assets, very often with a long-term vision of their wealth, as an inheritance for future generations, for example. Many of our customers are building up a fine wine collection to pass on to their children or grandchildren. We find this very appealing, because it’s halfway between the consumption/hedonist aspect and the investment aspect.

 

Building up a collection of “grands crus” is something other people do. What’s interesting about you, and what creates a bridge with our profession, is this “guardian” aspect of collections. Could you explain please?

Indeed, once the wine has been purchased directly from the estates, our challenge is to ensure that the buyers – our customers – receive the same quality of wine as if the bottle had been opened at the estate. To achieve this, we have set up an end-to-end traceability system to ensure that, throughout transport from the estate to our storage facility, the wine remains in the same conditions of temperature (12 degrees), humidity (75%) and stability as at the original winery.

But we don’t stop there. To guarantee this quality, the place where the wine rests until it is ready to be drunk must also be optimal.

We have an entire storage area in Geneva’s Free Port where our customers’ wine collections are kept under conditions strictly identical to those of the estates, if not better. Customers can monitor storage conditions at any time from their application, which is connected to the chips on each case or bottle in their collection.

So, in addition to our role as advisors, we are also the guardians of the collections!

 

How to know the best moment to open these great wines?

That’s a very good question, and one that our customers are also asking! Let’s not forget that these grands crus need time to be fully appreciated. Wine takes a long time, which means that when you buy a great bottle, very often it’s to be opened in 10, 15 or 20 years’ time. The application therefore indicates, for each bottle, the best time to open it.

 

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To find out more about 1275: www.1275collections.com/preservation/

To visit the PSPI Collections service : www.pspi.ch/risques-speciaux/collections/

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