Vinovest Review: Invest in Fine Wine

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Fine wine investing is growing in popularity as more investors add alternative assets to their portfolios. However, storing a wine collection can be difficult and expensive if you don’t have a personal cellar.

Thankfully, Vinovest makes it easy to start investing in wine with as little as $1,000. You can get a customized portfolio that is stored in climate-controlled cellars across the world.

This Vinovest review explains how beginner investors and collectors can use the platform to build an investment-grade wine portfolio and enjoy other unique perks.

vinovest
4
Overall Rating

Summary

Vinovest lets you buy fine wine from around the world with a $1,000 initial investment and an average 10-15 years investment period. Your portfolio is insured and stored in off-site storage. Investors with a high balance can get a dedicated portfolio advisor and access to rare wines.

  • Investment options

    4

  • Research tools

    3.8

  • Investment minimum

    4

  • Ease of use

    4.2

Pros

  • $1,000 investment minimum
  • Diversified wine portfolios
  • Portfolio advisor access

Cons

  • High annual fees
  • No dividend income
  • Long investment horizon

What is Vinovest?

Vinovest is an online platform that helps individual investors invest in fine wine. The site uses computer algorithms and professional sommeliers to build a diversified portfolio that accounts for your risk tolerance. 

You can purchase cases of wine from wineries across the world. They are then stored at off-site cellars until you decide to sell them. 

Every collection has insurance against damage or catastrophic loss at the storage facilities.

As you’re investing in a physical asset, you can order a bottle from your collection that you can enjoy or store in your home.

Since you can request delivery of your investment portfolio, this isn’t a crowdfunding platform where you only own a partial share of an asset. 

This control element can make this investment idea more appealing because you have 100% ownership of these alternative assets.

Who Can Use Vinovest?

It’s possible to join Vinovest from almost any country. The main caveat is that you must be the legal drinking age for your home country to qualify.

In the United States, you must be at least 21 years old as that’s the minimum legal age to buy alcohol. 

How Does Vinovest Work?

With Vinovest, you can create an account online for free and start building your model portfolio. 

Asset Allocation

Vinovest assets

It’s possible to create an account without committing an initial investment to establish your investment plan.

Vinovest will recommend a portfolio using your risk tolerance:

  • Conservative: Lowest annualized volatility 
  • Moderate: Highest potential returns while balancing volatility
  • Aggressive: Highest pure annualized returns

According to the platform, the historical average annual return can be between 5.5% and 12% from a conservative to an aggressive portfolio allocation.

An artificial intelligence algorithm matches your investment goals with wines from several regions across the world. You can work with a portfolio adviser if you have a $50,000 minimum investment to hand-pick your investments.

The service doesn’t monitor your personal wine collection.

Own Investment Wine

You will add funds from a linked bank account. It takes approximately two or three weeks for the platforms to purchase your collection.

Once your purchase is made, you own 100% of the wine in your portfolio.

In most cases, the platform buys unopened cases containing several bottles with a higher resale value than individual bottles. 

Furthermore, you can periodically buy a single bottle for rare and less-common productions.

Multi-Year Holding Period

The recommended investment period is at least three years for most vintages. However, you may need to hold some wines for up to 20 years to achieve the peak market value once they become rare.

Based on historical data, the average holding period is 10-15 years for most wines to sell for peak value.

Your portfolio can increase in value as the vintage becomes scarcer and ages. As the adage goes, “Fine wine gets better with age.”

Your online dashboard lets you track your current portfolio balance and lifetime performance.

Storage and Insurance

Secure, climate-controlled cellars are the default storage method for the entire investment period. 

Most of your holdings remain in European cellars. This is where wine estates are the most prolific.

A third-party insurance policy protects your bottles and cases at current market value if they are damaged or a natural disaster strikes.

An annual management fee pays for these services. Vinovest collects this fee from users monthly.

Selling Your Wine

It usually takes two to four weeks to finalize your selling request.

You can sell individual bottles whenever you want. Unfortunately, there is a 3% early liquidation penalty when selling wine that you’ve owned for less than three years.

This investment idea doesn’t earn dividends like other assets. Instead, you must wait for your wine to appreciate in price before you can sell it for a profit.

When you sell a holding, your investments gains in the U.S. are subject to the collectible tax like physical gold and silver.

Vinovest only sends you a tax form 1099 when you sell at least $20,000 in a calendar year under current tax rules. You must self-report your sales if you don’t cross this threshold.

The tax requirements are different for investors living outside the United States.

Ship Your Wine to Yourself

You may also decide to ship some of your collection to your personal cellar or enjoy a few bottles. If so, the platform only ships whole cases and not individual bottles.

You’re responsible for any shipping fees if you take advantage of this option. Additionally, this part of your portfolio won’t be eligible for Vinovest’s insurance coverage.

How Much Does Vinovest Cost?

While you can earn investment income, there are several fees you will encounter when you use Vinovest.

Asset Management Fee 

You will pay an annual asset management fee to cover your storage and insurance costs. Vinovest automatically deducts the fee in 1/12 increments at the end of each month.

There are two ways to reduce your service fee:

  1. Enroll in monthly recurring deposits: 5% discount
  2. Refer a friend: You both get three free months

The platform offers four different plans, and your annual fee reduces when you upgrade to a higher portfolio plan.

Starter

A minimum $1,000 investment lets you start investing with a 2.85% annual fee.

Plan benefits include:

  • AI-driven investment portfolio
  • Storage
  • Insurance
  • Enrollment in the carbon offset program

Plus

A $10,000 balance reduces your fee to 2.70%.

This plan adds two extra benefits:

  • The ability to invest in premium wines
  • Bi-annual reviews from a portfolio manager

Premium

Reaching the $50,000 portfolio balance lets you enjoy a 2.50% annual fee.

Some of the additional perks include:

  • Customizing your portfolio
  • Dedicated portfolio adviser
  • Access to rare wines
  • Investing in wine futures
  • Personalized portfolio reports
  • Invites to exclusive Vinovest events

Grand Cru

You pay the lowest fee of 2.25% annually with a $250,000 minimum balance. Grand Cru is the most elite pricing plan, but you share the same perks as Premium members.

Selling Fees

You won’t pay any additional fees for bottles that you hold for at least three years.

A 3% early liquidation penalty applies to any holding you sell within the first three years.

Shipping

If you decide to ship a case to your home instead of selling it or keeping it in a Vinovest cellar, you will pay shipping fees. 

This cost depends on the storage facility location and your destination. For example, tariffs can apply when requesting a shipment from a European cellar. 

A customer support agent can provide a price quote.

Key Features

Here are some of the best reasons to consider being a wine investor through Vinovest.

Diversified Portfolios

Vinovest diversification

Regardless of which risk tolerance strategy you choose, Vinovest buys cases from various wine regions. With this strategy, you can get exposure to many wines that can have different investment performances.

This diversification is the equivalent of an S&P 500 index fund. It gives you exposure to companies in a variety of industries like tech, retail and energy.

You can expect your asset allocation to reflect these regions:

  • Australia
  • Bordeaux
  • Burgundy
  • California
  • Champagne
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Rhone
  • Spain

Portfolio Value Alerts

Since the average expected holding period is 10-15 years, this long-term investment can be easy to “set and forget.” As a result, it can be easy to miss the highest selling price.

The platform can send you a price alert when it believes your collection reaches its peak value.

Peak value estimates are based on these three factors:

  • Brand equity
  • Scarcity
  • Aging

Portfolio Advisors

With either the Premium or Grand Cru plan, you get access to a dedicated portfolio advisor who can help you invest in specific wines.

This advisor is a professional sommelier who is an expert in fine wine and can provide personalized advice. 

If you’re a knowledgeable fine wine investor who doesn’t want to solely rely on the Vinovest algorithm to buy cases, this feature can be beneficial.

Wine Futures

Premium and Grand Cru members also have the option of investing in wine futures. This investment option lets you invest in wine that’s still in the barrel for up to three years before bottling. 

Vinovest 100 Index

Vinovest portfolio

The Vinovest 100 Index tracks the market value of 100 popular wines from across Europe and the world. This index can make it easier to track your investment performance compared to the overall fine wine market.

You will also receive quarterly reports covering the index’s performance, investment trends and any pertinent changes to the platform.

Vinovest Events

Premium and Grand Cru members can receive invitations to exclusive wine tastings and events. 

Grand Cru members may also interact with the Vinovest Advisory Council. This council consists of master sommeliers and other wine industry experts.

Carbon Offset Program

The company is practicing several sustainability initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. For example, Vinovest plants one tree for every 10 cases you purchase.

Partnering with storage facilities near the wine-producing regions also keeps transportation emissions and costs low.

Satisfaction Guarantee

If you experience problems or difficulties investing with Vinovest, the platform offers a satisfaction guarantee. This can waive your management fees for up to 90 days.

The company will also strive to correct the shortcomings you encounter.

Authenticity Guarantee

You cannot physically inspect your collection in the various storage cellars. Fortunately, Vinovest guarantees the authenticity of each case.

It’s also possible to request the delivery of a case to verify it’s a legit product.

Invite Friends

You can invite friends to invest with Vinovest and waive up to three months of your annual management fee.

What Others Are Saying

Before signing up for any investing platform, it can be beneficial to know what current customers have to say about their experience.

Trustpilot

Vinovest has a 4.1 out of 5 Trustpilot score with 79 reviews. While most reviews were positive, complaints centered around bad customer service and liquidation issues.

Here are a couple of Trustpilot reviews from current users:

“The platform is easy to use, I am impressed by the initial purchase made, and the value of my wine has already appreciated. I look forward to adding to my investment and watching it grow over time.” – Kim St. Hilarie

“Poor customer service. I deposited money and no wine was purchased, however, they charged me a monthly fee.” – Santana Talbert

Apple App Store

The Apple App Store rating for Vinovest is 4.6 out of 5 stars with 39 ratings. Most reviews were positive, and the negative comments pertained to the need for additional features.

Here are reviews from a couple of app users:

I love how easy it is to view my wine holdings and add to my portfolio whenever I see new exciting investment opportunities. Plus, it’s pretty cool to be able to pull up my phone and show my friends my virtual wine cellar” –Hungry Trojan

“Needs more features. Does not show investment performance, only total account balance and transactions. Has some room to grow” – jahkaz

Google Play

With a 3.4 out of 5 rating on the Google Play Store, Vinovest has nine reviews total. The primary complaints focused on the functionality of the app itself.

Current users shared the following reviews:

Seems like a nice app with a well-designed interface. So much more convenient to be able to check in on my portfolio with this. Looks like the app has all of the functionality of the website.” –Luke Thimons

“App keeps shutting down when you click on the wine bottle icon.” – Vik D

Better Business Bureau

Vinovest has Better Business Bureau accreditation (BBB) with an A- rating. There are currently zero customer reviews.

FAQ

If you are still on the fence about joining Vinovest, these questions might help you decide if the platform is right for you.

Is Vinovest legitimate?

Yes. Vinovest is a legitimate way to invest in fine wine. The platform can potentially help you earn residual income if you have a long-term investment horizon.

Additionally, you own 100% of your investments even though they are stored in several facilities across the world.

Why should I invest in fine wine?

While any investment has some potential risk, fine wine can produce returns that are competitive to the major stock market indices. 

For example, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 1000 Index that tracks the 1,000 most-traded wines globally has an average five-year annualized return of 40.02%. The S&P 500 return is 17.55% for the same period (December 23, 2021).

Keep in mind that your investment performance for either asset can vary. 

What happens if Vinovest goes out of business?

If Vinovest closes, you still own your wine investments that remain in the storage facilities near the wine region. 

In this scenario, you can have another service help you monitor your investment performance as well as coordinate managing, shipping and selling your cases.

Does Vinovest offer customer service options?

Yes. You can send an email or call customer support for investment and technical support. An online knowledge base also answers basic investment questions.

How does Vinovest protect your data?

The platform uses industry best practices to protect your data from cyber thieves. 

While the site may use your personal information to complete transactions, it won’t actively sell your data for profit.

Does Vinovest have a mobile app?

Yes, Vinovest has an app for iOS and Android devices.

Summary

Vinovest is one of the best platforms for fine wine investing because of its automated portfolio and secure storage facilities. Better yet, you only need to invest $1,000 to get started.

Serious wine investors will appreciate having access to a dedicated portfolio manager. This can help you refine your passive income strategy.

One potential drawback of the site is the relatively high annual management fee. Also, be prepared for the 10+ years investment commitment to earn peak investment gains.

That said, if you are looking for an alternative investment that you can add to your portfolio for long-term passive income, Vinovest could be the solution you’ve been searching for.

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