Pristine storage has always been our raison d’être, and as we celebrate 25 years in the business, we are proud to be longstanding champions of fine wine storage provenance. Today, nearly every auction catalogue and merchant offer refers to the provenance of the wine for sale, especially where the storage history can boast Octavian’s pedigree. This was certainly not the case when we started out twenty-five years ago. A handful of other facilities around the world have introduced their own storage standards but none are as rigorous as Octavian’s, and some facilities shy away entirely from the question of temperature and humidity. In 2007 we introduced the Certificate of Pristine Storage so that you can benefit from the Octavian provenance premium by proving the history of each case of wine.
While we have focussed on provenance, there has been a sea change in the fine wine world. Long gone is the gentle style of buying two cases and selling one to fund drinking. Now speculation is rife and it’s changed the nature of our business. The shift from long-term ownership to more and more trading – and therefore stock movement – of course makes it far riskier for us. However, our approach has not changed; it is all about looking after the wine in the perfect environment, with the best possible service for you, our valued clients.
What has changed is the volume of fine wine we’re dealing with. Octavian is home to the majority of the most respected wine merchants in the UK (and further afield), as well as Michelin-starred restaurants, wine funds, and more than 10,000 wine collectors across the globe. Last year we passed the one-million case mark, storing fine wine worth well over £1 billion.
We have made substantial progress in highlighting the importance of proper storage, and it is now an accelerating trend for buyers of fine wine to seek hard evidence of this. There is still work to be done across the trade, and also among collectors, because in the future, vague claims will not do. As the industry benchmark, we will continue to work towards this goal, in the name of finer, safer, more valuable wine...
...wine that will appreciate in value or, as the case may be, can be appreciated at its very best. Appreciation is a subject that Barry Smith takes on in this issue as he explores the world of wine criticism and treads the fine line between connoisseurship and snobbery. We are also delighted to welcome guest writer Tim Atkin MW, who challenges the conservative view of which fine wines are worthy of being collected.