Wine Loans

Key facts

Lending secured against fine wine

Bordeaux Cellars act as loan-brokers and custodians. We do not provide investment advice.

Over the last six years Bordeaux Cellars have brokered over £120,000,000 of loans and in excess of £14,500,000 interest has been paid to lenders. During that time, we have arranged over 600 loans funded by over 100 lenders. Money has been lent to around 250 borrowers.

Bordeaux Cellars broker loans between:

  • Clients with investment-grade wine who wish to raise funds against the value of their portfolio; and
  • Clients who wish to invest in a product that offers an attractive, fixed return with the protection of a low loan-to-value ratio against physically held security.

Key terms

  • Loans are for 364 days (which allows us to pay interest gross, without withholding tax);
  • The borrower pays Bordeaux Cellars a 1% facility fee and 3–6% pa interest per annum;
  • The borrower pays (Bordeaux Cellars on behalf of) the lender 9–12% pa interest (depending on the size of the loan and other factors – see below);
  • Bordeaux Cellars pays interest to the lender quarterly;
  • At the end of the term the borrower repays the loan to Bordeaux Cellars. We pay the lender and on confirmation of receipt of cleared funds we release the wine to the borrower.
  • We have clients throughout the world and offer loans in a choice of currencies (GBP, USD, EUR, HKD, CHF);
  • Loans are non-status and do not depend on the borrower’s credit rating;
  • The minimum loan is US $100,000. Typically, we arrange loans from £100,000 to £1,000,000.

The Changes/Investment Return

  • The interest paid by the borrower is 15% pa. This includes 3-6% payable to Bordeaux Cellars (in addition to our 1% facility fee);
  • The interest paid to the lender is 9–12% per annum (paid gross).
  • The rate of interest charged/paid varies on a loan by loan basis. It is determined by reference to the size of the loan (larger loans carry a higher return for the lender), and the location of volume of the stock, which impacts on our costs in valuing, appraising and cataloguing the wine).
  • The rate to be charged/offered will always be agreed with the parties by email before documents are drawn up.

The Security

  • All loans are made against investment-grade wine;
  • Before we accept wine as security for a loan:
    • We carry out a physical inspection and appraisal;
    • We value the wine, using Liv-ex mid-market prices;
    • We provide the borrower with an illustration of the amount they might borrow, based on a 35% loan-to-value;
    • We take physical possession of DP (Duty Paid) wine, or arrange transfer of the title to Bordeaux Cellars of wine held In Bond.

Investment-grade Wine

  • Is actively traded on the secondary market;
  • Is internationally recognised;
  • Has the ability to ‘age’; that is to improve and gain value in the bottle;
  • Is highly sought-after and collectible;
  • Scores highly in tastings;
  • Originates from producers with rigorous production methods;
  • Has a long drinking-window;
  • Has a proven track-record of holding well over time.

About 85% of the global production of investment-grade wines is from Bordeaux.

There are only around 250 producers of collectible wines in the world.

Wine Owners Market Prices

  • Wine Owners are Wine Owners Ltd company number 07645873;
  • Our valuations are prepared based on data supplied by Wine Owners. A letter from their founder/director Nick Martin can be found on the Documents page. This sets out their valuation methodology;
  • Wine Owners’ pricing data is sourced from Wine Searcher and Fine Wine Exchange offers and trades, using proprietary algorithms to process millions of pieces of incoming pricing data to calculate a Market Price at which a wine is likely to find a ready buyer - based on market supply and spread models.

The Parties

The Typical Borrower

  • Is generally a high net worth individual;
  • Is between 45 and 60 years of age;
  • Based in the United Kingdom;
  • The borrower may be asset-rich but cash-poor, or retire immediate access to short-term funds, perhaps to acquire property, or to launch or expand a business;
  • May have inherited a wine cellar or build it up over many years and is unwilling to sell for sentimental reasons;
  • May be an entrepreneur whose credit profile means they cannot borrow the required funds from a mainstream lender;

The Typical Lender

  • In order to invest

The Legal Documents and Process

  • The loan is Governed by the Laws of England and Wales (irrespective of the location of the lender, borrower or security);
  • We receive enquires from a pool of potential lenders;
  • We complete Know Your Client (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks on the lenders;
  • We receive enquiries from potential borrowers who send us details of their wine. If the stock appears to be suitable we then inspect, appraise and value the borrower’s wine collection. 75% of collections are suitable as security;
  • We complete KYC and AML checks on the borrower and issue an indicative term sheet to them;
  • Once the borrower confirms they wish to proceed the required loan is matched with a potential lender;
  • We then email the stock list and valuation to the lender and if they wish to proceed;
    • We provide both parties with draft documents for approval;
    • These are the Chattel Mortgage, The Loan Broker Agreement and Facility Letter copies of which can be found on the Documents page;
    • The lender signs the Loan Broker Agreement, the borrower signs the Facility Letter and Bordeaux Cellars assumes custodianship of the wine;
  • Bordeaux Cellars acts as custodian during the term of the loan. The title to wine In Bond is transferred to us, or we take physical possession of Duty Paid wine which we hold in escrow for the lender subject to the terms of the Chattel Mortgage, Facility Letter and Loan Broker Agreement;
  • The Chattel Mortgage is executed by the lender and by the borrower;
  • The lender wires funds to Bordeaux Cellars’ client account;
  • The chattel mortgage is registered at The High Court of Justice in London;
  • Bordeaux Cellars then transfers the funds to the borrower’s account;
  • Copies of the registered Chattel Mortgage are provided to both parties;
  • During the term of the loan (other than if a default arises - see below) neither borrower nor lender has access to the wine, nor may they consume, deal in, sell, pledge or further mortgage the wine.
  • At the end of the term and once the lender has been repaid, title to the wine reverts to the borrower.

Chattel Mortgage

  • The loan takes the form of a chattel mortgage (a mortgage over a moveable item of property);
  • A chattel mortgage is an agreement executed as a deed under which the funds borrowed from the lender are secured against moveable property (chattels; in this case fine wine) by way of the mortgage.
  • The chattel mortgage is executed in the statutory form prescribed by the Bills of Sale Act 1878 and the Bills of Sale Act (1878) Amendment Act 1882.
  • The chattel mortgage transfers legal title to then wine to the lender (subject to the terms of the mortgage) and so provides enforceable security over the wine during the term of the loan.

Self-certification

Loans (“ the Loans”) offered by Bordeaux Cellars London Limited (“Bordeaux Cellars”) can only be marketed to eligible investors including, but not limited to:

  • non-UK investors (subject to any relevant restriction in their respective jurisdiction);
  • “established” or “newly accepted” investors of any such authorised person in respect of whom that authorised person has taken reasonable steps to ensure that an investment in the Loans is suitable within the meaning of the FCA’s Conduct of Business Sourcebook 4.12 and “professional clients” and “eligible counterparties” of such authorised person;
  • “investment professionals” within the meaning of article 14 of FSMA;
  • “high net worth companies, unincorporated associations, partnerships or trustees of high value trusts” within the meaning of article 22 of the FSMA 2000 (Promotion of Collective Investment Schemes) (Exemptions) Order 2001; or
  • “sophisticated investors” within the meaning of article 23 of the FSMA 2000 (Promotion of Collective Investment Schemes) (Exemptions) Order 2001, being a person who has a current certificate in writing or other legible form signed by an authorised person to the effect that he is sufficiently knowledgeable to understand the risks associated with participating in unregulated schemes.

Please note that past performance is no guarantee of future performance, that the value of investments may fall as well as rise and that you may not get back any amount originally invested.

Defaults

  • If a borrower is late making an interest payment Bordeaux Cellars will make the payment to the lender and recover the amount from the borrower;
  • If a borrower cannot repay the principal at the end of the term Bordeaux Cellars will make the lender aware. The lender will then have the option to take wine to the value of the loan outstanding and in addition their reasonable costs, or to instruct Bordeaux Cellars to sell part of the wine held as security to allow repayment of the loan and any reasonable costs;
  • In over 600 loans only 12 borrowers have been late making interest payments and only two have defaulted in repaying the loan. In both cases the lenders were paid in full within two weeks.

Storage (In Bond wine)

  • Where wine provided as security is held In Bond it remains in the government bonded warehouse during the term of the loan.
  • Title to the wine is transferred by the warehouse to Bordeaux Cellars custodian account in the name of the Lender.

Storage (Duty Paid wine)

  • The wine is stored in separately allocated units designated as the subject matter of the loan between the relevant lender and borrower. As such it is separately identifiable and would not constitute an asset available to Bordeaux Cellars’ creditors if the company became insolvent.

Storage Generally

  • Both the bonded warehouses (In Bond wine) and the specialist wine storage warehouses used by Bordeaux Cellars to store Duty Paid wine are secure and climate controlled. Full details are available on the Cellarage page.

Insurance

  • All wine is insured for its full market value at the time of the loan. If an existing policy is in place this is assigned to Bordeaux Cellars. More usually we arrange insurance with NMU. A specimen policy is included on the Documents page.