Wine & Whiskey Insider: (BIG Issue) – Nov 16, 2021

Hi there, Welcome to Wine & Whiskey Insider – the free version.

This version doesn’t have as much detail as the paid version, but we still try to make it valuable for you.

Today, we’ve got a packed issue for you.

  • First, we analyze the The Napa Valley 2018 Collection on Vint
  • Next, we have a new podcast with Vint’s own Billy Galanko
  • Finally, we finish up with a look at the Karuizawa 50-year old whisky on Rally, including a super deep pricing analysis

Let’s explore

New Podcast: Billy Galanko, Head of Wine at Vint

This week Horacio sat down with Billy Galanko from Vint, the popular & growing fractional wine investment platform. He is a professional sommelier who now has an (awesome) role as Vint’s Head of Wine.

In the chat, we discuss:

  • How Billy parlayed an Upwork ad into an investment into Vint, and later Vint’s first full-time role
  • The ins & outs of high quality wine acquisition from merchant partners,
  • Why whiskey is more difficult to source than wine, but more impervious to damage
  • The possibility of professional grading of bottles
  • How Vint is exploring NFTs with utility — including potential ownership of not just wine but other cool benefits
  • Thoughts on opening up a liquid secondary market
  • What Billy is personally investing in
  • Upcoming offerings, including the Napa Collection w/ Screaming Eagle, some Northern Rhone varieties, and a unique whiskey collection with 36 bottles of Japanese whiskey, all with with beautiful, unique artwork.
  • What Vint’s roadmap looks like, including potentially investing in pieces of vineyards themselves.

Check out the podcast on Spotify or iTunes.

Napa Valley 2018 Collection

This collection of Napa wines will be available on Vint: Wednesday, November 17th at noon EST.

Offering Details

About the Wine Region

Napa Valley is America’s most famous wine-producing region. It is nestled in northern California, the wine capital of the United States.

Whether it’s a delightful Cabernet Sauvignon (accountant for the vast majority of wine produced in the region), Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc or Cabernet, chances are you’ve had a wine from here.

About the Wine

The collection comprises 296 bottles from Napa’s 2018 production. It includes some of the most sought-after wines processed in the United States – specifically the 2018 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon and the Scarecrow Cab Sav.

These two wines were the top-traded Californian wines globally in 2021.

About the Vintage

Napa’s 2018 vintage was epic.

After the devastating fires in 2017, the region came roaring back in 2018 with one of the best years for Napa vintage reds and whites.

2018 offered a steady and even growing season for vintners. They were spared any dramatic heat spikes, or other traumatic events – including smoke taint.

2018 seems to be the vintage that produced what serious Napa Cabernet lovers find most appealing in these wines: rich, opulent, and decadent wines that don’t hide from what they are – ripe, big, and bold.

From this esteemed crop, Vint sought out the ‘cream of the crop’ to craft an investment opportunity consisting of ultra-premium wines from Napa.

The wines for Vint’s Napa collection were sourced immediately upon release, meaning they were purchased at their cheapest possible price points. History suggests the best value for investment-grade wine is found upon release.

Some of the more popular wines included are:

  • Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc Oakville (9.1% of the share’s value)
  • Hundred Acre Cabernet Sauvignon (10.2%)
  • Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena (6.6%)
  • Kapcsandy Cabernet Sauvignon (3.7%)

The one that started it all. Credited with starting the California cult wine craze, Screaming Eagle bottles routinely sell for $7,000 each



Wines from the Napa valley region’s top manufacturers are notoriously hard to source.

Some of the bottles included in this collection produce less than 2,000 cases per year. The Screaming Eagle sauvignon Blanc, for example, only produced 50 cases (600 bottles) in 2018.

Such a small supply number means that these wines are almost exclusively released to member lists, and a secondary market for them is close to non-existent.

Critically-acclaimed wines

There are three wines included in the Napa Valley 2018 collection that received a perfect score from critic Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. These wines were:

  1. Screaming Eagle, Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon
  2. Kapcsandy Cabernet Sauvignon State Lane Vineyard
  3. Spottswoode, St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon

Inferred Value

Inferred Value for Insiders only
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Verdict and Recommendation

Recommendation for Insiders only
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Karuizawa ‘Aqua of Life’ 50-year old Whisky

This beautiful whiskey is currently trading on Rally

Offering Details

About the Distillery

From “The Karuizawa Distillery was established in 1955 in the foothills of Mount Asama, an active volcano north-west of Tokyo, to make single malt in as traditional a manner as possible. At 850 metres above sea level, the distillery was the highest above sea levels in Japan; low temperatures and high humidity provided an ideal micro-climate for whisky production.”

According to the Whisky Exchange, in the late 1950’s Japan was able to import some of the same barley being used by Macallan during the same time period. The Karuizawa Distillery soon gained popularity in Japan, but little of the whisky left the country.

In 2001, the distillery closed its doors and its whisky was still little known outside of Japan. It wasn’t until 2007 that its product started gaining international acclaim when a distributor started bottling single casks of whisky and exporting them to Europe.

Karuizawa’s whisky game is even more impresive than their ivy game.

The Whisky Exchange describes the Karuizawa product as, “from rich and decadent, long-matured sherry casks, to elegant bourbon casks and fresh-and-fruity combinations of the two, the quality of these whiskies has been phenomenal.”

About the Vintage

This vintage, the one offered on Rally, was distilled in 1969 and bottled in 2019. The ‘Aqua of Life’ whiskey brand was bottled in two versions, in back to back years, with a 1968 vintage bottled in a black label and the 1969 vintage bottled in a white label.

  • The white label had a total of 347 bottles (700 ml) with a 59.2% alcohol content
  • The black label had a total of 248 bottles (700 ml) with a 57.9% alcohol content

Pricing Analysis

Here’s where the pricing gets tricky: Even though the black label has a lower edition number, it has a much higher prevalence at auction. Of the seven comps on the Rally web site, only the most recent public sale on July 5, 2020 is of a white label.

The other six comps offered on the site are auction results for the black label ‘Aqua of Life.’ When we found two more public auctions, one by Whisky Auctioneer and another by Bonhams, they were also of two black labels.

For the sake of comparison we took the four most recent auction results for the black label. The results are below:

  • Whisky Auctioneer, May 2021, $50,000
  • Sotheby’s, May 2020, $56,000
  • Bonham’s, February 2020, $64,000
  • Sotheby’s, January 2020, $48,000

The average auction sale price of the black label since 2020 is $54,500

We believe that the price realized on Whisky Auctioneer in May 2021 is lower than the Sotheby’s auction result a year prior because – while it is a very respected whisky auction house – it has a smaller audience.

This means that in the last 2 ½ years there has been only one public auction of the Karuizawa ‘Aqua of Life’ 50 Year white label. The white label hammered in at $67,000 on July 7, 2020 at a Sotheby’s auction.

Inferred Value

Inferred Value for Insiders only
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Recommendation for Insiders only
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Stefan von Imhof

Stefan von Imhof

Stefan von Imhof is the co-founder and CEO of  With a background in alternative asset analysis, valuations, and due diligence, Stefan was born for this world. His alternative investing  newsletter has grown into — the world's largest alt investing community, with over 230,000 investors. Originally from Boston and later Santa Barbara, CA, he now lives in Melbourne, Australia with his beautiful wife.

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