“It was clear from my research that Cult Wine was the best and the global leader, so I approached the global CEO in 2020,” he said. The two talked, mixed their plans, and publicly launched London, England-based Cult Wines in North America in April 2021. It relaunched its small New York office as it opened just before the pandemic began. “There is great comfort in knowing that we have been in business for 14 years and can demonstrate solid returns and the benefits of fine wines across our client portfolio.”
Cult Wine is the only such presence in Canada, although Tewari said there are some similar organizations in the US, most recently. Cult has the widest and global reach, and uses data and technology in its asset management processes. But, Tiwari said that he has to primarily build a business through Zoom.
Cult Wines has 2,500 global customers and has grown to approximately 250 new customers over the past two years. These, collectively, have $380 million in assets under management (AUM) and have a compound annual growth rate of 28% over the past five years. They are expecting good returns again this year. Although it has only been operating in North America for nine months, Cult has $30 to $35 million of North American assets.
Once customers are onboard, they have a separate, separately managed portfolio of fine wines, “so you really own the wines,” Tewari said. Then they are responsible for receiving, transporting, storing (under the right conditions), insuring and selling it, hence there is liquidity. Cult, an active manager, has all those pipelines.
“Wine is very sensitive,” Tiwari said. “Therefore, in order to preserve the value of the wine when it goes to sell, you need to demonstrate what has happened to preserve the value of what you are selling.”