The fine wine tier has long been a playground – and an area of serious commercial interest – for collectors, investors and critics. As we explored in the first post of this mini-series last week, the evolution of content tailored to that specific audience of wine enthusiasts has inspired breakaway platforms such as The Wine Independent, which aims for “fierce independence” from a pay-to-play model that founders Lisa Perotti-Brown MW and Johan Berglund believe have become the rule rather than the exception.
Which immediately struck me, in principle, as a great idea. The next question quickly on its heels, however, is its feasibility as a sustainable business model, when the tried-and-true revenue generators are off the table.
Enter the investors.
In the case of The Wine Independent, that’s a group of eleven people — ten from Sweden, one from Norway — who are enthusiastic consumers of wine and successful business people, but are not involved in the wine industry commercially. I sat down with three of them — Pär Josefsson, Peter Erlandsson and Björn Amlér — to ask some direct questions, from their motivations for investing in a wine content platform to their research about the market to the financial risks they’ve assumed.
Here are four characteristics that make them tick as investors, not just of wine but of wine content as well.
Wine bottles laying flat
Same but Different
There are obvious commonalities within the group but also important differences.
For starters, they are already familiar with each other, they enjoy wine and they want the experience of it to be part of their lifestyle. “We are a tight gang of investors, almost all from the southern part of Sweden,” Josefsson said. “I know that they’re honest, and that everyone will have a fun ride together.”
On the other hand, their professional and business experience are differentiators. “These eleven people are very supportive and come from different backgrounds, like IT, marketing, start-ups,” Erlandsson said. “This team gives you access to international businesses in a multitude of different industries. They have good know-how.”
Risk and Reward
Their own experience and limitations as wine enthusiasts and collectors informed the investors’ decisions. “I like good wine but I’m not the kind of expert to know if it’s going to be good in 10 or 15 years,” Josefsson said. “Buying and collecting wine started to be quite a gamble, and I believe that there are more like me that feel the same experience.”
The personal risks, both …….