Angus Fordyce of Vinterest talks about the beauty of wine
The UK is again in the midst of a troubling time economically. With the pound falling, many are casting about for a better way to store their wealth. Angus Fordyce, co-founder of digital wine merchant Vinterest, has an idea with plenty of legs. Neverbland sat down with him to take a sniff of the bouquet.
We love the name of the company. How did you come up with it?
We spent a lot of time adding “v”s to words with an “in” prefix. We were almost called “Vintellect” – but we all agreed Vinterest was best.
Tell us more about the company.
We started Vinterest in 2014. My co-founder Nuno Cunha and I wanted to create a business that made wine appealing for more people. Wine buying has been a traditionalist, inaccessible thing for so long – especially at the higher end of the market. Younger people would opt for lower quality stuff, broadly speaking. Our idea was to import fantastic wines into the UK that wouldn’t otherwise have made it here. And make it easy to buy them.
So, is Vinterest is like a discovery platform?
Yes. We started importing loads of wines from Portugal, South Africa, elsewhere in Europe and the US and started selling those from an online store. We wanted to give people the chance to access more niche bottles. Supermarkets have very limited ranges, often low end spectrum and mass produced. And yet a huge number of artisanal bottles are more beguiling and fascinating. Vinterest is always about sharing wine knowledge.
But now it’s about more than that?
The latest opportunity that we’re pursuing is investment in wine, which is always seen as one of the best hedges in times of market turbulence and volatility. We launched an investment fund earlier this year and had really good uptake, now we’re putting together a second round of funding.
Is putting your savings into wine a good move?
Probably better than crypto! Wine outperforms most markets over the years. There’s been 13% average growth every year for the last 13 years. When other markets are tumbling or correcting themselves, wine seems (at worst) to flatten briefly before ascending again.
Why does it grow so reliably?
A wine that is produced at a particular vintage is always a diminishing product. Supply goes down and over time those wines will be confirmed as being the original quality that they were assessed by critics. You get some ‘unicorn wines’ that end up being some of the best ever made. The prices for these just spirals.
Is it easier to convince people to invest, than splurge on pricey wines that they’re just going to drink?
In the current market it certainly is. The message is similar for us. It’s about exploring the world of wine and realising its potential. The original model was about enjoying drinking the wines, now it’s more about the investment angle.
How will you keep growing the company?
A good digital product strategy is key to our getting bigger. Online is key to helping more people learn about wine – and use it to make good investments. Our fund allows people to put in as little as £500, so this is a good way for beginners to get involved. Now that we’re building a bigger community, we’d like to run some events and tastings further down the line. It’s satisfying watching the numbers tick up, but nothing is equal to opening a fine vintage.