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In my last Chairman’s message back in 2011 (called The Future is Red), I wrote to you after an intensive and eye opening week in China, and I write to you now after three intensive and very exciting weeks in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. Since my last message, the 2009 vintage has been rated the best ever by Robert Parker (awarded nineteen hundred points), we have opened three Max Bordeaux Wine Galleries: Bordeaux, Taipei and Tokyo, and we have launched the Bordeaux Winebank Exchange – BWBEX.com.
On the operational and management side, we have a trimmed and re-focused organisation in Bordeaux and established a new head office and Fund management team in Luxembourg. BWB Singapore is successfully up and running (since 2004) and the same goes for BWB Norway (Bordeaux Vinhandel), since 1992. Our newly established BWB Taiwan (with Max Bordeaux Taipei) and BWB Japan (with Max Bordeaux Roppongi) are both showing promising results. In the second half of 2012 we aim to open BWB Hong Kong and that will be followed by BWB Shanghai and BWB Beijing in 2013. A new flagship Max Bordeaux in Tokyo is also on the drawing board to open in the second half of 2013.
As I sit here on the flight between Tokyo and Oslo, I’m preparing for the biggest move and challenge ever in my career and how we as a group will now push and drive for an ever stronger market change. The market conditions we have faced over the last 12 months have been truly challenging - by far the toughest ever during my 20 years as a globetrotting wine merchant, but by working hard and never stopping believing in the market and the opportunities that follows, we now have a well balanced structure with a retail and distribution model that will be hard to stop.
Since my first arrival in Bordeaux in 1995 (my first visit to the capital of wine) we, as a group, have always been 100% committed to only buy wines that come direct from the chateaux. We adopted early the slogan “Fine wine is not about price but provenance” and have since the very start guaranteed and certified that all wines sold come direct from the chateaux. This is a long term strategy that is now paying off. A strategy that besides Max Bordeaux also includes a partnership with Sotheby’s where we have, since November 2010, completed seven wine auctions: New York (November 2010), London (May 2011 and March 2012) and Hong Kong (January 2011, October 2011, January 2012 and April 2012), all under the exclusive Five Star Provenance branding created by BWB Group.
Driving the visionary change of Bordeaux over the last 20 years, the big breakthrough for our group came with the opening of our very first Max Bordeaux Wine Gallery & Cellar in Bordeaux in October 2010. With the opening of this stylish, modern and elegant wine boutique, we launched a concept never ever seen for Bordeaux wine – a place you could come, interact, learn, buy and taste the top 48 chateaux by glass. Here you could taste the best of the best - from Chateau Margaux to Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc to Chateau Yquem in a relaxed and cool ambiance powered by excited and educated staff and innovative communication through Facebook and Twitter.
Sitting on the plane returning from Tokyo after working intensively over the last two weeks with our inspiring and professional teams in Taipei and Tokyo, I’m 100% committed and 100% convinced that we have a fantastic business model in the making. The opening of Max Bordeaux in Taipei and Roppongi (Tokyo) proves this with the exciting combination of a wine shop, a wine gallery and a wine bar – all in one. With Max Bordeaux we have created the standard of future wine retailing and our objective going forward is to open 100 Max Bordeaux retail outlets around the world in the next 20 years.
With the slogan “Max Bordeaux I like”, we are creating a following and a customer experience that is yet to be seen in the global wine retail market. The future of retailing is all about education and customer experience and with Max Bordeaux we give our wine loving customers the ultimate Bordeaux experience – be it by drinking a bottle at home or by glass in our gallery.
Starting BWB Group in 1992 at the age of 28 and now celebrating our first 20 years as a group, we are busy planning for the next 20 years ahead. With the first 20 years as a privately owned company, the next 20 years will be more public as we work hard to open the group for investments. This is so we can tap in to the new found retail opportunities of Max Bordeaux, stock up more direct chateau wines and allow us to expand faster and better globally.
With BWB Group driving the changes in the Bordeaux market place, the future will be all about a fully integrated distribution line - taking the wine from soil to glass and bringing the utmost Bordeaux experience to consumers around the world. By guaranteeing the provenance of the wines sold and taking the utmost care during logistic processes, we will give the wine loving people around the world the chance to taste and buy the great wines of Bordeaux the way they were made.
Bordeaux will never be the same and we’ll make sure of that!