During 2014 a number of investors who had purchased Australian wines through a company called APW Asset Management (previously known as Australian Portfolio Wines) decided to remove their wines from their broker’s management and subsequently employed UK Agora to manage the sale of their holdings, which we did successfully. In the summer of 2014 UK Agora employed Jamie Ellis, a former employee of APW to help assist with the sale of ex-APW client’s wines. A necessary and shrewd step as his niche knowledge of the Australian wine market allowed us to build our first Australian wine sale channels.
Towards the end of 2014 APW Asset Management went into administration. Unfortunately for APW’s clients, the wines were stored within an account managed by APW which meant investors did not have immediate access to their wine portfolios. UK Agora ONLY trades wines which are privately stored. This rightfully gives full ownership to the owner. Click here to read our DO’s and Don’ts guide to investing in the Fine Wine Market.
APW, at their peak were considered one of the largest importers of Australian wines in Europe and prior to their downfall had been trading for 14 years. They amassed a large number of clients and reportedly managed 14 Million Pounds of Australian fine wine.
After learning of APW’s administration we again utilised the contacts of Jamie Ellis. He arranged a meeting between our Director and the highly regarded ex-APW wine broker Nicholas Gibbs. Nicholas has over a decade of experience trading fine wine. His career has been hugely successful. His knowledge of the overall market combined with his contacts made the decision to headhunt him an easy one. After lengthy negotiations, mostly regarding how UK Agora can help his existing customers, Nicholas Gibbs agreed to become UK Agora’s new Head of Sales.
The vast majority of Nicholas’ clients traded their wines within their own independent private accounts. This allowed UK Agora to go to work for them straight away. Between January – Dec 2015 Nicholas oversaw the sale of over 10,000 bottles of Australian fine wine. A figure far greater than had been initially expected.
It has been reported by the DrinksBuiness.com that UK Agora is somehow affiliated with APW. This is not the case. UK Agora have utilised the experience of two senior ex-members of staff to help deal with an unfamiliar niche market, with great success!
Neal Baker, The Drinks Business
The Drinks Business approached Nicholas Gibbs in 2015 and asked him to assist in an article written by Neal Baker. It was mentioned by Neal Baker that the information Nicholas may be able to provide could help APW investors in understanding what was happening to their portfolio. Nicholas naively agreed to help.
“When Neal initially approached me he seemed as though his main concern was to help the investors who had dealt with APW. Our conversations back and forth became friendly and more relaxed. Little did I know that he was planning to attempt blemish my long standing reputation and also the reputation of UK Agora. I provided Neal with as much information I could.”
Fortunately for Nicholas and UK Agora, the words of a writer barely of legal drinking age did not to cause much harm. However, due to the Drinks Business’s article, one very serious, potentially disastrous situation occurred. Many companies started touting their businesses on the comments section. The companies in question saw a fantastic opportunity to profit. Each proclaiming that the Australian wine market had depreciated in value and that customers wines may be worthless. Their intentions? To purchase investors wines far cheaper than their actual value. Using APW’s demise as their reasoning behind why Australian wines had dropped in value. UK Agora can confirm that thankfully this is not the case. We have sold a good majority of the Australian wines our clients own at a profit or breakeven price. Further testimony to the good business we strive to produce.
When we asked Nicholas how he felt about the Drinks Business’s Neal Baker and his manipulation of information he said: “I have kids myself so I understand that young people make mistakes. I remember being young, thinking I knew the way the world worked. It’s not until you have lived a bit that you look back and recognise your errors. I am sure Neal will look back at the negative effect this article has had, particularly on the clients already affected by APW’s administration.”
Nicholas attempted to contact Neal Baker recently. He is yet to receive a reply.