Veteran wine expert bringing innovation and global access to the traditional world of wines

TOPICS: Entrepreneurship , Fintech

by Mariana Lam

Before founding Wineworld Xplorer, I have been in the wine industry for 12 years since when Hong Kong government abolished wine tax in year 2008. Over the years, I have not only enriched my wine trading experience, but also honed in on my entrepreneurial skills. By now I have gained a clear concept on the consumption pattern of wine clients from different demographics, which demonstrate a complex mix of different purposes ranging from immediate consumption, and increasingly more so, collecting for passion, later consumption and investment. This presents an obvious opportunity for me to step up and build a holistic solution to match selling and buying needs, and facilitate efficient sourcing of wine from vast pool of trusted wine sources.

With Hong Kong’s zero wine tax, close proximity to China and other Asian countries, I see our strategic advantage with strong wine background and network to launch this wine exchange ecosystem. Therefore after my Tsinghua Exchange trip to Stanford and visits to Silicon Valley leading tech startups, I have set my goal to launch this platform following with market research and feasibility study.

Today, Wineworld Xplorer (WWX) is Asia's first multi-market wine trading exchange, our value proposition is a stock-market-like marketplace to efficiently match buy-sell opportunities in wine. We are now connected to 4 global wine hubs: UK, France, Hong Kong and have recently launched to Singapore. WWX enables multi-currencies settlement, offers post-trading cross border logistics and wine cellaring solutions all-in-one platform. Wine buyers in Hong Kong and Singapore could place order from Wineworld Xplorer, and decide whether to store the wine in UK/HK warehouse or to ship them back with our temperature-controlled air freight service.

Our mission is to augment wine experiences through digital innovations and AI. With our wine portfolio management system, it enables users to keep track of their asset distribution and the drinkability, quality, past-present-future performance of their wines. By aggregating a broad spectrum of external wine data, the system is capable of performing real-time portfolio valuation and offering data-driven wine investment advisory to users, thus setting WWX on a path towards becoming a next-generation “Digital Wine Bank”, in essence, one that connects wine and fintech so to enable wine lovers to not only enjoy wines as a form of liquid pleasure, but also as liquid assets.

Now let’s take a look at why fine wines are worthwhile assets. With superior knowledge, help of advanced data analytics and well-timed acquisitions, fine wines can present lucrative returns and opportunities – over the 15-year period of 2003 to 2018, red Burgundy has attained a return of 497%, dwarfing red Bordeaux which yielded ~255%. Fine wine performs distinctively differently than other conventional asset classes including stocks, gold, bonds or FOREX. At present, fine wines are seen as traditional commodities with a strong value preservation edge. As an alternative asset class in a UHNW/HNW investment portfolio, the allure of fine wines as a segment lies in its relative stability in price and demand especially during volatile market episodes. It is also worth noting that top 500 investable fine wine components generally enjoy a trading lifespan of at least 50 years. This offers assurance to wine investors and traders of secondary market tradeability. Bonded storages and preservation of investable fine wine in Original Wooden Cases guarantee prime resellability.

The spirit of wine is essentially the spirit of sharing. Wine lovers worldwide all love to share their favourite sip and experience with each other. When I found WineWorld Xplorer I simply took that spirit and extended it to sharing resources, access and wealth in form of wines. Whether it is our Asia’s largest live wine list that grabs your attention, or our various innovative wine-fintech concepts that appeal to you, check us out, talk to me and find out more. If you like what you are reading thus far, or have any idea to share or collaborate, please connect with me and let me take you on a tour around WineWorld Xplorer.

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About the Author

A firm believer in innovation, Mariana Lam brings her business acumen and passion for wines together to curate not only 12 solid years of international wine trading experience; but also a grander vision of making fine wine trading more accessible and transparent by way of developing an international fine wine trading, valuation and management platform. Mariana Lam is founder of wine import and retail company WineWorld and fine wine trading platform WineWorld Xplorer.

Mariana is holder of Executive Master of Business Management from Tsinghua University Beijing and Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and Accounting from Boston College School of Management. She is president of Golden Bauhinia Women Entrepreneur Association (2019-2021), an active participant in various business associations and charitable work in relation to the promotion of female rights and entrepreneurship.

Mariana has received multiple awards in recognition of her achievements including GBA Outstanding Women Entrepreneur Awards 2019 and O2O Award 2019 from Hong Kong O2O E-Commerce Federation. She has also led Wineworld Xplorer to be shortlisted and won the Most Valuable Services Award 2019 from Mediazone; becoming one of the winners at the Pitching Final of HKTDC Startup Express 2020.