If you enjoy a glass of wine to relax in the evenings, you may have considered taking your wine interest a little further. Wine is one of the more stable, long-term alternative assets.
Many savvy investors have used wine to diversify away from traditional stocks. However, some people struggle with the idea of investing in wine and worry about how they would even get started.
Fortunately, there are platforms to help you discover the world of wine investing. Two such platforms are Vint and Vinovest. So, here we’ll create a Vint vs. Vinovest comparison, so you can have all the details you need to make informed investing decisions.
The Vint Basics
Vint is a wine investment platform that has been operating since 2019. It allows non-accredited investors access to collections of wine from across the globe. Many wine investing platforms may require you to buy entire cases of wine or, in the cases of more expensive vintages, entire bottles. However, this is not the approach used by Vint, as you can buy shares for as little as $25.
Vint has been designed as a solution for investors who want to diversify into wine but don’t want to have to source or store wine themselves. With its low minimum investment, you can immediately start investing in several collections. The Vint team will deal with sourcing, market research, and negotiations with world-class storage facilities to ensure the assets remain safe.
Vint Platform Features
- Low Minimum Investment: As discussed above, you can invest in Vint shares for just $25, making it easy to invest small amounts of money.
- No Annual Fees: Vint does not charge its investors annual management fees. It makes money from charging a commission typically 0.5% to 10% of each offering after the funding closes. This means that while you pay the fee upfront instead of on an annual basis.
- Frequent Launch of New Collections: New collections are launched on the platform approximately every two weeks. The wine collections are from different areas of the world. Vint includes ample information about them, including a breakdown of each bottle and vintage to help you make informed investment decisions. You can also use the provided information to perform your own research and due diligence.
- SEC Regulation: Vint is quite unusual as it is an SEC-regulated company with a primary focus on wines and spirits. This means you can access wine share investing that’s not typically available with many platforms.
- No Accreditation Needed: You don’t need to be an accredited investor to invest with Vint. This makes it accessible to anyone.
- Secure, Safe Storage: When Vint acquires the wines, it works with partners to ensure secure storage that’s humidity and temperature controlled. This not only means that you don’t have the expense and hassle of storing it yourself, but you can expect world-class storage facilities. Professional wine storage companies typically store millions of dollars of fine wine, so you can be reassured that your investment is in good hands.
- Compatible with Self-Directed IRAs: Vint allows you to use a self-directed IRA for your wine investment. This is an excellent option for those planning for retirement and looking to diversify into wine.
The Vinovest Basics
Vinovest is a wine investment platform based in Los Angeles that builds different custom portfolios. The portfolios vary from $1,000 upward and are based on the input of Master Sommeliers and quantitative investment models that analyze thousands of different data points.
Vinovest has a global network of fine wine connections that it leverages for its investors to obtain the most competitive prices. The typical completion time frame of portfolios is two to three weeks, and you’ll own all the wine in your portfolio. This means that you can buy and sell bottles as you like. Vinovest also insures, authenticates, and stores your wine.
With its higher entry point, Vinovest is designed for the more experienced investor. Vinovest encourages investors to take a long-term view, with a holding period of five to 10 years for the best returns on investment.
- Numerous Portfolios: The Vinovest portfolios are designed with three options to match your risk tolerance and investing goals. The Conservative portfolio targets 5.5% annual returns, while the Moderate and Aggressive portfolios target 8% and 12% annual returns, respectively. Vinovest creates portfolios according to its AI-powered algorithm and the expertise of its master sommeliers to select wines from various regions tailored to risk tolerance and goals. For example, while a conservative portfolio is likely to stick to blue chip wines from established markets, aggressive portfolios may include wines from emerging markets. Although you can’t view a list of the wines, the algorithm considers thousands of wines. After the acquisition, Vinovest authenticates, ships, and stores the wines at the nearest bonded warehouse.
- Trading: One of the latest features of this platform is that you can now invest in individual bottles without a prebuilt portfolio. The new Vinovest marketplace allows you to explore bottles and wine collections available for investment. You can click on a bottle to see more details about its vintage, critic scores, historical price, and bid and ask price. A “Why we’re buying” section details the rationale for Vinovest investing in this specific wine.
- Investments from $80: Although the Vinovest portfolios have a $1,000 minimum investment, you can invest in bottles of wine in the marketplace for as little as $80. There are four Vinovest tiers depending on your investment amount. The more you invest, the lower the annual fees.
- No Accreditation Required: As with Vint, you don’t need to be an accredited investor, making it accessible to everyone.
- Human Advisor Team: If you have any questions about the platform or wine investing, Vinovest has the facility for you to book a time to speak with a portfolio advisor located in your region. Your plan includes dedicated advisors if you’re in the top Vinovest tiers.
- Referral Program: Vinovest has a referral program that provides management fee discounts. If you refer a friend to the platform, you’ll get three free months of management when they fund an account.
- Futures: While portfolio and marketplace trading are the main ways of investing with Vinovest, you can also trade wine futures if you’re a top-tier client. This means you can buy new vintages even though they are still in the barrel. So, you can get in early and enjoy exclusive offerings.
Fees and Prices
This is one area of the Vint vs. Vinovest comparison where the differences become apparent. Vint does not have any monthly account fees or annual management fees. Instead, it takes a cut of up to 10% of the funds raised from each collection. So, while you’ll pay an upfront fee, this is the extent of your costs unless you opt for additional platform extras such as investing with an IRA, where custodian fees may apply.
Vinovest’s pricing structure is not as straightforward. There are four plan tiers, and your plan’s annual management fee varies. The basic Start Plan has a 2.85% annual fee but drops to 2.25% with the highest level Grand Chu plan.
As we mentioned above, your plan is determined by your initial investment and impacts the plan features. For example, you need $1,000 or more for the Starter Plan, but $10,000, $50,000, and $250,000 for the Plus, Premium, and Grand Chu Plans respectively.
All plans offer authenticated wines and wine insurance, but you can’t access rare wines with the starter plan. You’ll also need to be a Premium or Grand Chu client to access wine futures, portfolio customization, and exclusive invites to Vinovest events.
There are also several fees involved when you trade wine on the marketplace. A 2.5% fee when you buy also covers three months of storage. If you sell wine to another Vinovest user, you’ll pay a 1% fee. You also need to factor in the 1.5% storage fee per year, which is billed monthly.
You also need to watch out for Vinovest sales penalties. Vinovest is designed to be a long-term investment of at least 10 to 15 years. However, you can liquidate your investment to free up capital from your portfolio, as Vinovest does work with a global network of buyers. You can expect to sell your wine in a matter of weeks, but if it is less than three years since the original purchase, there’s a 3% early sale penalty.
The primary way to access the Vint support team is via the website live chat widget. This is available during the week, and on weekends and holidays, it will provide you with a customer support email address, which means you’ll need to wait on a reply.
On the other hand, Vinovest has a more responsive customer support team that you can access by email or phone. You can also schedule a time to speak to an advisor if you have specific queries or questions.
Since neither platform requires you to be an accredited investor, the account opening process is quite straightforward for both. Vint simply requires you to provide your name, phone number, and email address before creating a password. After you verify your email, you’ll need to complete a short investor profile. As Vint is only available to American citizens, you need to confirm your eligibility by providing a U.S residential address, your date of birth, and your Social Security Number.
The Vinovest account opening procedure is a little more involved. You can sign up using your email, Google, or Apple account. You’ll then need to select the type of portfolio of interest. However, Vinovest provides a calculator that estimates how your portfolio option could grow over specific time frames and your investment holding period. This allows you to compare portfolio options to find the one best suited to your goals and risk tolerance. From this point, you can fund your account via debit card, credit card, bank account transfer, check, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency.
This last option is quite unusual, as investing in wine via converting crypto into cash is a unique aspect of the platform. Vinovest works with BitPay to support the conversions of popular coins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin.
However, you should know that the $1,000 minimum deposit, not just your initial deposit, applies at all times. While you can sign up for auto-deposit with a $500 minimum, you can’t simply top up your account at any time with small amounts. So, think carefully about how much you want to deposit when you open your account.
Vint vs. Vinovest Pros and Cons
Of course, no platform is perfect, so it is essential to be aware of both the pros and cons before making a final decision about your best choice.
- Shares from $25
- No annual management fees
- SEC regulation
- Possibility to invest via self-directed IRA
- A limited number of deals available at any time
- The upfront fee can be hefty
- No secondary marketplace
- Difficult to sell shares early
- Investments are liquidated at Vint’s discretion, and you don’t choose when you want to sell
- Four portfolio options with different benefits and features
- Wine marketplace to buy and sell from $80
- Liquidate your investment at any time
- Excellent customer support
- No fractional wine shares
- Penalties if you sell within the first three years
- Complicated fee structure
- $1,000 minimum deposit
As we’ve demonstrated in our Vint vs. Vinovest comparison, both these platforms are a great way to access the wine investing marketplace. However, they’re likely to appeal to different types of investors. Vint is designed for newbies who may not have or want to risk a significant initial investment, limiting the potential offerings. Vinovest is for serious investors looking to purchase wine portfolios selected by sophisticated software and expert sommeliers.