Callum Woodcock talks business goals, favourite bottles and what his North Yorkshire heritage means to him…
What inspired you to start your own business?
I started my career at some of the big investment managers and during my time there I noticed that people were increasingly interesting in diversifying into alternative assets. We’ve started to see some “alts”, like private equity, become more accessible, but investing in fine wine has remained a complicated and opaque topic. My hope is that through education and transparency, we can bring more investors – especially those who are not necessarily wine-drinkers – to this asset class.
Why should people consider investing in wine – and how can WineFi help?
As an asset class, fine wine has a fascinating profile. We’ve detailed data stretching back to the early 2000s and since then wine has outperformed many major equity indices. It is, ironically, quite an illiquid asset, which makes it resistant to panic-selling. This means it is also very stable – behaving a lot like gold does as an investment. It’s also uncorrelated to traditional assets like equities and bonds, making it a solid diversifier, and in some circumstances is even exempt from Capital Gains Tax in the UK.
What does a typical working week look like for you?
We’re a start-up, so every week is different. That said, I typically spend most of my time talking to prospective clients who want to know more about what we do, along with our investment committee and suppliers.
Tell us about your Yorkshire roots…
I grew up visiting my family in Yorkshire, who are sadly no longer with us. As a result, I don’t have an excuse to go back as much as I would like. In fact, thinking about it, the last time I visited Harrogate was on a stag-do, which wasn’t very conducive to a trip down memory lane. But it’s a great part of the world that will always have a special place in my heart.
What was the first wine you ever tried and what can you remember about it?
The first was probably something like Echo Falls at a house party when I was a teenager. But the first “fine wine” I remember trying was a glass of 1994 Chateau Palmer. I just remember being struck by the history of it more than anything else – a wine as old as I was, from a chateau that had been producing wine under that name since the end of the Napoleonic wars.
What is your favourite wine now and why?
I love a Gewürztraminer. Luckily for me, Sainsbury’s do an excellent one for about £8. Not what you would consider investment grade, but certainly easier on the wallet!
How do you spend your time when you’re not running a business?
I try and get out of the house and do some exercise as often as I can. A cycle with a podcast, or a long walk – ideally with a pub at the end of it. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to run a triathlon, so we’ll see where we get to with that.
What are your hopes and goals for 2024?
Professionally, I want to see WineFi grow into an established name for wine investment. My goal is for it to become as synonymous with wine investment as Vanguard is with Index Funds. I think there is a great opportunity to open this asset class up in a way that benefits the whole ecosystem, from producers and merchants to importers and investors and others. Personally, I have a wedding to plan – I’m getting married in 2025!
For more information about WineFi, visit www.winefi.co.uk