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Saturday, January 24, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Investing in Liquid Assets (by D. Sokolin)

INVESTING IN LIQUID ASSETS; uncorking profits in today's global wine
market (Simon & Schuster, 2008, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-4165-5017-4, $26
US hard covers) is by David Sokolin, a top US wine broker. He took his
family's small Madison Avenue liquor store and turned it into the USA's
largest wine brokerage house. According to the author, the upscale wine
market in the USA is increasing. There are handsome profits to be made,
although ugly profits are also appreciated. Sokolin only deals in IGWs
(Investment Grade Wine), which have outperformed blue chip stocks for
the past century. His book deals with how to make money by trading in
fine wines. Part One identifies the key players and the principles
governing the IGWs in play (in other words, the principals and the
principles).There is basic data about what the futures markets are all
about. Part Two identifies the best wine regions, styles, and vintages
of the past century. This book, of course, is not meant for the average
wine drinker, but for the investor or collector. Even the novitiate
would know that the best regions are in France (Bordeaux, Burgundy,
Rhone, Sauternes, and Champagne), northern Italy (Tuscany, Piedmont),
Port, and Rioja. California and Australia wines are okay, but you won't
make much appreciation. Between 1986 and 2007 – 20 years – Sokolin's
Bordeaux portfolio went from $327,400 to $3,273,280. Impressive indeed.
To do anything in this business, though, he says that you should buy at
least 10 cases minimum for each brand. And there are problems of re-
selling and storage if you have the actual physical product near at
Audience and level of use: wine readers and wine investors, collectors.
Some interesting or unusual facts: "For all the great wines California
has to offer, I've never made much money in this sector."
The downside to this book: no mention of Hardy Rodenstock, or even of
The upside to this book: the book is useful to us in Canada since wine
need never enter nor leave this country. As an investor, you'd simply
buy and sell wine as you would with any commodity.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

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