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Welcome to The Vault, an Octavian Vaults Periodical

It has been a difficult year or two for the fine wine market, with prices for the first growth clarets falling by a third from their peak in June 2011 to their lowest point in July 2012. Whilst it looks like we are beginning to turn a corner we have all come to learn that fine wine is not immune to wider economic influences, despite its low correlation to stock markets. What has become strikingly apparent during this weaker climate is that wine with optimum provenance retains its value better than poorly stored counterparts. Single-owner collections with a traceable storage history and ex-château stock sell at a clear premium.

What inference can we draw from the recent proliferation of 'storage standards'? That there is now general acceptance that perfectly stored fine wines are preferred, sought after, and more valuable? Undoubtedly so. However, due to the difficulty and cost of delivering the Octavian standard, you will see that these other standards such as the HKQAA wine storage scheme are compromised and fall short of the expectations of serious collectors. As Octavian Vaults clients you receive a Certificate of Pristine Storage with every case you remove from Corsham Cellars, which you can use to reassure any buyer of the wine's perfect storage history.

As you know, ensuring the optimal storage environment is, and always will be, fundamental to Octavian's cellarage service. It's the very principle upon which our reputation rests and is the reason why so many of the world's finest wines are entrusted to our care. That's why our new above-ground facility, Colerne Reserve, has been carefully engineered to precisely mirror the conditions at Corsham Cellars. We have been absolutely stringent in replicating the exact conditions naturally found underground - 13°C temperature, 80 per cent humidity, and the absence of vibration and natural light - conditions proven, without doubt, conducive to the fulfilment of fine wines' potential.

With this new, state-of-the-art reserves facility, Octavian has been able to welcome new substantial fine wine trade customers, Bordeaux Index and Liv-ex. And so the importance of Octavian as the physical hub of international fine wine trading continues to grow. For our private clients, this means an increasing supply of fine wine that will remain perfectly stored even though cases may change hands a number of times; plus more potential buyers should you wish to sell your wine.

In this issue of The Vault we are delighted to welcome on board guest columnist Benjamin Lewin MW, whose exploration of biodynamics is as topical as ever at a time when more and more renowned wineries - the likes of Pontet-Canet in Bordeaux and Domaine de la Vougeraie in Burgundy - are embracing biodynamic practices. Benjamin, originally a molecular biologist and now a Master of Wine, attempts to determine whether such practices are "science or voodoo".

We are also excited to feature an excerpt from Neal Martin's groundbreaking first book 'Pomerol'. In his quirky and engrossing style, Neal - wine critic for The Wine Advocate - explores the wines and winemakers of this tiny Bordeaux appellation. Here he introduces us to the hallowed property of Petrus, and its "captain", Jean-Pierre Moueix. If you are intrigued by the extract featured here in The Vault, then we have secured for you an exclusive opportunity to purchase "Pomerol" at the discounted price of £35 + £9.99 P&P (representing £15 off the RRP of £50). Simply email your name, address and your Octavian account reference Neal will contact you to arrange payment at the exclusive offer price. We hope you enjoy!