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Building Your Own Full-Service Wine Team

September 13, 2012

Thanks to collectors, professional wine storage is big business.  Within the wine collecting industry, statistics show that for every twenty bottles purchased by collectors, only one bottle is drunk immediately. The rest are stored away for months, years, if not decades, dependent upon the vintage, varietal and other factors.

As investment-grade wine emerged as a viable alternative asset to the equity markets over the last decade and-a-half, an opportunity for wine storage businesses simultaneously arose to meet the collector demand, and wine storage facilities began popping up all over the nation.

All facilities however, are not created equal.

Some facilities are more full-service in nature, and often provide a host of different services including: inbound inventorying, outbound pulls and pack, as well as uploading your wine into some sort of web-based online account where you can view your collection virtually.  Sounds great, right?  All those services can come with quite a hefty price, and those are on top of the monthly storage fee which can be as much as 40 cents per bottle.  For a $50 bottle that’s laid down for just three years you’ll pay $14 in storage fees, or 28% ‘overhead’ on that bottle!

Most facilities however are self-service oriented, leaving the heavy-lifting (literally) to the collector.  But as expected you will pay a lot less, normally only a charge for the locker that you are renting for your wine collection.  On a per bottle basis charges can be as low as 10 cents per bottle, but normally range between 14-18 cents per bottle.

So what is a collector to do if they’d like full-service treatment, but don’t necessarily want to pay the over-bloated storage bill of those facilities each month?  Why pay a more expensive storage bill for full services on a continual basis when you only need and utilize those services every so often?  As a ‘full service option’, Chai Consulting bundles our suite of collection management services with self-service storage facilities for a considerable savings when compared to the traditional full-service facility. In essence this lets collectors custom build their own full service wine team where they calls the shots and get the same full service, but only pay for it as needed.

An additional tip?  Some self-storage facilities are now taking certain important full-service aspects and differentiating themselves from other self-service facilities by providing services that can include receiving shipments on the collector’s behalf and placement into your locker.  Most, in fact will provide this service at no extra charge.  These will be the facilities that can provide the best value for the collector.  But as we have learned – it is best to check those inventories every so often to ensure your wines have been put away properly .

Collectors should do their homework when choosing a facility, (or let us do it for you since we have worked with many of the storage facilities across the country), to ensure the home you choose for your valued investment addresses all your needs from a service perspective and at a price you are comfortable dedicating to wine storage each month.

Kirk Baierlain Account Advisor, Chai Consulting

For additional insights, to inquire about our services,  or for further advice on how to figure out which  wine storage facility is right for you and for a list of reputable wine storage facility across the U.S. feel free to contact me directly at kirk@chaiconsulting.com .

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