As I sit in my (home) office typing this, I have a glass of wine on my desk. Just a simple glass of supermarket-purchased white, white obviously as I am using my Apple Mac. White for working on a Mac, red for when using a PC. Any gentleman knows that of course.

To be honest, we probably consume more than our fair share of wine at Weddell Towers. In fact, I fear a letter from the solicitor of the chap who comes round once fortnightly to empty my glass recycling box in relation to his back problems any day now.

Other than a bottle of mulled wine I received one Christmas, any wine entering my front door is quaffed within a week or two, so the idea of purchasing wine with the intention of not enjoying it with a fine meal or a similarly fine article of my creation is somewhat alien. But such a purchase can provide an interesting alternative to traditional investments.

Putting your money in the more usual investments means that you are subject to the vagaries of the relevant market. Investing in wine and fractionally owning part of a vineyard means that you receive immediate kudos amongst your friends and, if the worst happens, the option of drowning your sorrows is always available as a worst-case scenario.

But to be serious for a moment, obviously, we at recommend seeking expert advice when considering investing in wine and vineyards, as not every wine is suitable for investment. You will find details of recommended contacts at the end of this article. Always bear in mind that all markets are subject to change and prices and demand can fall as well as rise.

By owning part of a vineyard, you are 'buying into' a lifestyle where you can physically visit the yard, see the vines, smell the grapes and, usually, even lend a hand to the wine-making process. You can label the wine whatever you like, bring it home and enjoy with friends; it is a great talking point and you will definitely win the one-upmanship award!

Once bottled, a suitably selected wine matures and improves with time. Generally, wine is produced to be consumed, so as time marches on, your untouched bottles become rarer, as well as improving in taste. With the increased rarity comes an increase in price due to the dwindling supply.

Obviously, the ideal situation is to buy into the vineyard when wine is cheaper as it is initially produced and then sit back and wait for your investment to grow, all the while resisting the temptation to crack open just one or two bottles for that special occasion. Investment terms should generally be looked at as 10 to 15 years, but particularly smart selections can see returns in as little as 5 years.

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