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Financial Investments and Wine Making - What do they have in common?

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

Our client, AIA, came to us with the challenge of engaging their high networth audience. They wanted help planning a virtual event on the topic of financial and family succession planning, and were looking to us for guidance on how best to engage this particular audience through webinars.

While financial and family succession planning may seem intimidating to many, it is without a doubt necessary for those looking to leave a legacy for their loved ones.

A promising investment is one that is first and foremost built on a strong foundation.

With financial investments, it begins with a carefully curated portfolio put together by a team of investment professionals that is customized to the client's needs.

With this in mind, MPC Events helped to attract attendance by pairing the webinar with wine appreciation. No any ordinary wine tasting but one that comes with a family-owned vineyard owned in France.

Why? Because wine making is just like nurturing a very long term investment portfolio. It takes five years for the soil to rest after it is initially plowed, another five years for the vines to grow and it can take up to 10 years for the vines to produce something that is worth putting in bottles. That’s a whole 20 years invested before a vineyard can produce its very first bottle; talk about a long-term investment!

For this event, we invited Xavier Jean, 4th generation owner of Couvent des Jacobins vineyard in Bordeaux, to share with us what really goes into wine making and how his family's legacy has been passed down over the years.

Financial investments and wine making

Both are long term and high risk investments, but which holds a higher risk?

Just as investment professionals spend hours conducting rigorous qualitative and quantitative analysis in a bid to predict how the market is going to play out, winemakers too have to observe and be prepared for possible environmental changes that will affect their production.

While investments are affected by external factors like Covid and financial downturns, vineyards too are largely affected by environmental factors like the weather and climatic issues such as the recent spring frost that hit French vineyards prompting them to light candles and spray water over the vines in a bid to protect them from the frost.

So how do winemakers ensure that their wines turn out the way they want it to?

Through a vertical wine tasting across 3 different vintages, 2008, 2014 and 2015, we learnt how the weather conditions for a specific year affects each wine, and how winemakers cope with environmental changes.

Two wines, same grapes, 1 year apart. How did they turn out to be so different?

While the wines from 2014 and 2015 had the same composition of grape varietals in the same ratio, interestingly, they turned out very different.

Xavier explained that there are two main factors that affect how the wine will turn out, the first being weather patterns and secondly, how long the wine is aged in the French oak barrels which is generally between 12 to 15 months.

2015 saw a more intense, dry summer with a lot of sun, resulting in more powerful and concentrated berries that led to a higher alcohol content. Because of the higher concentration, the berries could afford to be aged in the barrel for 15 months, this resulted in a bold yet balanced wine with more pronounced hints of oak.

2014 however saw more humid weather, resulting in less intense flavour. To maintain a balance in its flavour, the wine was aged in the barrels for 12 months producing a fresh, more approachable wine with less pronounced oak compared to the more powerful 2015.

Isn't it interesting how two wines just one year apart turned out so different?

This is similar to making financial investments, where investment in the same portfolio over two different years could yield different results, but the difference here is that financial investments are closely monitored by professionals like the wealth management advisors at AIA, with the dexterity and option to shift resources to maximize its potential or avoid devastating losses; winemakers however only get a single chance each year to produce a good wine.

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