Serena Sutcliffe, Sotheby's interview: 'The real value of a wine is when you pull the cork!'

Last year was a great year for wine, outperforming equities, gold and property as an investment, according to Liv-ex, the eminent fine wines index.

Leading the vanguard for impressive wine sales in 2009 was Sotheby's - success which it no doubt plans to continue throughout 2010.

Wine bottles
The first Sotheby's 2010 Hong Kong
fine wine sale will take place later
this month

As Sotheby's gears up for its first Hong Kong wine sale of 2010, Serena Sutcliffe, Master of Wine and Worldwide Head of Wine at Sotheby's, took a few moments for an exclusive chat with Paul Fraser Collectibles.

What are your thoughts on the Asia market? Does it offer a temporary or long term prospect?

"I don't think that the Asian market is 'just a fad'. Asians are interested in a wide range of life-enhancing categories, such as art, fashion... and now wine.   

"After all, they are an extremely gastronomic people."

According to Liv-Ex's recent report there are only a small number of collectors currently in Asia - do you think this will grow?

"At the moment you cannot say that wine drinking is widespread throughout Asia, but this is the case even in America! The potential is enormous."

Let's look at Bordeaux Pétrus for a moment: Liv-ex suggests that it hasn't established a strong presence in Asia. What are your thoughts?

"Château Pétrus is indeed in demand in Asia.

"But so are the First Growths, led by Château Lafite at the present time, as well as the Super Seconds - plus the top St.Emilions such as Cheval Blanc, top Pomerols such as Le Pin, and Lafleur."   

'I hope that provenance will become
more important in 2010'

What are your predictions for the fine wine market in 2010?

"I think that it will continue to develop - and hope that provenance will become more important."

Finally, what advice would you give to anyone starting out as a fine wine collector?

"If you are building a cellar to enjoy, do as much tasting with friends as you can in order to find out exactly what you like, and also to extend your experience and knowledge.

"Always buy from really reputable sources. Be adventurous when buying for enjoyment and follow your passion - but be conservative when thinking of investment.

"And remember that the real value of a wine is when you pull the cork!"

Links to other web pages included in this article don't reflect Serena Sutcliffe's interview responses or opinions.


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