The Spear's Indices - Spear's Magazine

Welcome to the Spear’s Indices

Each issue of Spear’s Magazine contains an exclusive Index prepared by the experts at the Spear’s Research Unit identifying the very best providers of professional services to the high net worth audience. Comprehensive, authoritative and indispensible, these are the definitive lists of the top HNW advisers in Britain working in property, family law, wealth management, tax and trust, alternative assets and reputation management. Once a year the Indices are updated and expanded to form the core of the Spear’s 500, the bible of HNW advisers. Go to the drop down menu below for the latest indices of top professionals from the Spear’s Research Unit

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Alternative Assets Advisers 2017




Top Recommended Art Advisers

The job of an art adviser is like those of a curator and a detective rolled into one, according to Abigail Asher, who has been in the business for three decades. ‘You need to be quite relentless, an advocate for your client, and have great perseverance and imagination. I love the chase and the acquisition,’ she says. With business partner Barbara Guggenheim, who founded the firm almost 40 years ago, Asher advises both connoisseurs and novices on European and US art from the turn of the 20th century to the present day. ‘We like to work with a select group of people who are the right fit for us and we for them,’ she explains. The company is based in New York and LA, with a strong presence in London (Asher is from the UK). Its clients span the globe from Europe to Asia to the Middle East through to […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Canada-born, London-based Ariane Belisle, who specialises in postwar and contemporary art, set up AIB with the primary aim of ‘leveraging emerging artists and art with a primary focus on new collectors who may not know where to start’, she explains. She offers the full range of art advisory services, from buying, selling and collection management to shipping, valuation, framing and organising collateral loans. Since her MA in curating at the Courtauld, Belisle has been on a steep upward trajectory. She was poached from her first job at Sotheby’s by a property investment giant to manage his £70 million art collection. ‘I was incredibly lucky to get this dream role early in my career,’ she says. More followed, including projects at the Tate and the V&A. The keys to being a successful adviser are, she says, transparency and a strong art historical background. ‘Collectors should liaise directly with the artist through […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Reputed to have one of the most discerning palates in the industry, Hew Blair had one of the best wines he’s ever tasted only the day before he speaks to Spear’s: a 1945 Mouton Rothschild. ‘It was sensational,’ says Blair, who has been at Justerini & Brooks for 43 years and is one of the wine world’s true statesmen. ‘The colour was just starting to take on an amber shade but the wine was fresh and incredibly fruity and sweet. Seriously complex.’ Blair is a pioneer – he was the first to bring en primeur tastings to London, beginning with the Burgundy 1990 vintage. He is effusive about the success of the recent 2015 Burgundy campaign which saw more than £4 million worth of wine sold in just one night at One Great George Street, where Justerini holds its tastings. It’s a great vintage, says Blair, and the Pinot Noirs […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Started in 1976 by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Ecurie Bertelli specialises in pre-Second World War Aston Martins. Offering parts manufacture, restoration, servicing and race and rally support, it gets busier every year. ‘Partly it’s down to people going out and enjoying their cars more,’ explains MD Robert Blakemore. ‘And we’re taking a larger share of the available market. No one can do what we do – to the extent that the official Aston Martin company comes to us with pre-war issues.’ Pre-war Astons are one of the few cars still going up in value as prices level out following the boom of 2012. Firstly, they’re impossible to fake as records were kept of every single one built, and Ecurie Bertelli knows where each of them is today. Furthermore, the supply is so small – there are only around 450 in existence – that their value is guaranteed to hold. Blakemore […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

‘I care deeply about, listen to, and politely provoke my clients and appreciate that what I do is ultimately about enjoyment,’ says Douglas Blyde, the endlessly enthusiastic and imaginative wine consultant and Evening Standard wine columnist. He spends much of his time ‘stuffing the cellars and cocktail cabinets of private clients’, he says, speaking to Spear’s while arranging a party at Evgeny Lebedev’s residence. HNWs tend to pivot around the classics, he says, but Blyde is passionate about challenging his clients with ‘new classics’, from South Africa, Canada, California and China. He relishes arranging ‘flamboyant private parties a-brim with phallic breadsticks, suckling pigs, fragrant cocktails and mocktails, and Bollinger Grande Année by the magnum’. Recent triumphs include a blind tasting of President Trump’s wines, a UK versus EU drinks and produce ‘Brexit’ tasting, and a sensory banquet in a nightclub where wines were matched with atmospheric sounds, music and light […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

BI founder and MD Gary Boom’s love of wine was sparked in the Eighties while he was working in the City with businessman Michael Spencer on a project which would become ICAP. ‘It was a magnum of Latour 1970 shared with Michael and his father that really opened my eyes,’ he says. With offices in London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Los Angeles, BI (known until early 2016 as Bordeaux Index) provides customers with wines from Burgundy, Italy, Champagne, California, Spain, and of course Bordeaux, as well as spirits. BI strives to offer the best stock at the best prices, coupled with a customer service experience fit for the demands of the discerning HNW. The introduction of BIX, its live valuation and broking system, gives clients clarity and control over their reserves, for example, and offers the unique guarantee of a ‘you sell’ price for almost 500 of the world’s top wines […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Paul Bowker got into wine by mistake after taking a job in Paris on his gap year driving a van for wine legend Steven Spurrier. ‘All I ever wanted to do was be a banker,’ he says. ‘Steven made me decide I wanted to be a wine merchant. He lit a fire.’ Bowker went on to become head of the wine department at Christie’s before joining Wilkinson Vintners as partner and director in 1998. The company concentrates on sourcing ‘the right wine at the right price’, with the aim of always having the wines people are looking for in stock (currently worth to £8-10 million). A highlight of 2017 was buying a private collection worth £1.5 million from one private seller. ‘We have two challenges: selling the wine, but more importantly maintaining our stock levels, so when someone suddenly comes along with several hundred cases of really top-quality wine worth […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Thirty years ago, Corney & Barrow pioneered the direct relationship between grower and merchant. Today it is as close to winemakers as it is to its customers, and it’s had another excellent year. ‘Brexit, the exchange rate and the general political upheaval have gone in our favour,’ managing director Adam Brett-Smith notes. ‘But also nature was kinder – and if the vintages are good, the interest becomes great.’ The 2015 and 2016 Bordeaux and Burgundies are especially delicious, while Piedmont has been ‘absolutely extraordinary’ over the past decade. ‘Customers seem to find it more attractive because of its single grape variety – so there’s a spiritual relationship with Burgundy,’ he explains. The most important consideration when buying wine is the integrity of the merchant, says Brett-Smith, who is clerk to the cellars of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Choosing between Bordeaux and Burgundy is like choosing between […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Stephen Browett started out as a van driver for a wine shop and ‘fell into wine’; 30 years later the unpretentious and straight-talking owner of Farr (who also happens to part-own Crystal Palace FC) celebrated his 50th birthday at Château Latour. Exports have been fantastically strong this year due to the weaker pound, and Farr’s main clients continue to be based in the US and the Far East. ‘We are unique because we are very efficient, our pricing is competitive, and we are one of the biggest stockholders of Bordeaux wines in the world,’ he says. ‘We also have a very high level of expertise and experience among our staff.’ Browett is still reeling from a two-day marathon tasting at Farr, where ‘the finest palates in the wine industry’, including gurus Neal Martin, Jancis Robinson and Steven Spurrier (see page 82), gathered for a tasting of 150 of the top 2005 […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

One of the art world’s true powerhouses, Amy Cappellazo has an unparalleled record from her time as head of contemporary art at Christie’s – and where she once directed a sale which realised more than $650 million in one evening. It’s no surprise, then, that when she left after 13 years to set up the private consulting firm Art Agency, Partners (AAP) with Allan Schwartzman, it was bought by Sotheby’s just two years later for a whopping $50 million as part of a strategic move to beef up the auction house’s revenue stream. As a result, since January 2016, Cappellazzo and Schwartzman have been co-heads of Sotheby’s newly formed Fine Art Division. Based in New York, the firm has expanded with a division dedicated to artists’ legacy planning. They bring ‘passion, strategy and access’, she says, to a discerning international clientele of both new and established collectors. Cappellazzo is positive […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

‘Restoration to perfection’ is the family-run company’s motto, and that it holds to it is reflected in its longevity and enormous international clientele. Founded in 1977, DK Engineering offer sales, acquisitions, restoration, race preparation, service, accident repair and supply of parts, with a machine shop, rolling road dynamometer, engine shop, software and diagnostic equipment for all Ferrari and Maserati models. The company initially developed out of David Cottingham’s love of XK Jaguars, which he would prepare and repair for others as a way of financing his racing hobby. When he realised how good he was, he moved into Ferraris as a further challenge to his skills, fascinated ‘by their much broader range of engine designs, and I started restoring and rebuilding earlier examples of the marque’. The company now employ ten mechanics – some of whom are Ferrari factory-trained – plus full-time apprentices, offering everything from restoration and rebuilding to […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

The recently merged RM Sotheby’s brings RM Auctions’ classic car expertise and Sotheby’s international reputation together for a ‘truly international presence and a resulting level of exposure and expertise that no one else in this business can achieve,’ says Paul Darvill, its European car specialist, whose clients come from North America and Europe but also increasingly from emerging markets. Although the market has slowed down, there are plenty of opportunities. Darvill points to Sixties sports cars, which are stable, Eighties and Nineties performance cars, which are growing in value, and Eighties and Nineties cars such as the Golf GTI and the Peugeot 205, both of which have shot up in value. ‘The thing to do is to think about the generational shift and the collectors who’ll be around in ten or 20 years’ time,’ he ventures. Otherwise, Ferraris are always a safe place to put your money. Darvill bought his […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Isabelle de La Bruyère was interning at the Met aged 16 when it dawned on her that she was making coffee in a room full of Monets and Van Goghs. ‘From then on, I knew Impressionist and Modern was my field. It was revolutionary at the time and you could paint your own vision,’ she says. As head of client advisory, she works with private multi-category clients looking to build collections of a wide range of art and decorative art ranging from Impressionist and contemporary to jewellery and Islamic. ‘I know the art market can appear intimidating. My job is to make it less so, to give the human touch,’ says de La Bruyère, who joined Christie’s in 1999, rising through the ranks via Impressionist and Modern and Oriental art, before launching Christie’s Dubai, a real career highlight. Now based in London, she is your global link to both the […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Recommended by Lord Rose, the former boss of Marks & Spencer, the delightful Susie De Paolis has been advising people on their wine portfolios and managing their cellars since 2001. She has recently been joined by her daughter, Francesca De Paolis, a wine expert in her own right with more than a decade in the trade. Clients include people from all walks of life, from heads of industry to private collectors, and they all have one thing in common: ‘Their portfolios are all quite sizeable,’ says De Paolis, who has a strict cap on the number of clients she’ll have at any one time (30). ‘Everyone has a different agenda. Some just want to drink it, others are buying for investment and everyone has different tastes, so I have to get to know my clients really well.’ De Paolis will create a comprehensive database with information on every single bottle […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Manfredi della Gherardesca is never sure if he’s depressed or inspired by how drastically the art market has changed in the past decade. ‘You collect art, you are. You don’t collect art, nobody knows who you are,’ he says. As the HNW population has grown, the market has become ‘like a huge maze where it’s hard to find the exit’. That makes knowledge more important than ever. ‘The old saying is that success in business is dictated by whom you know. I think it would be nice if it was also dictated by what you know,’ he says. Luckily for his clients, della Gherardesca, who works as a one-man band, has it all. He has a master’s in Caravaggio and 17th-century Italian art, and his true lifelong passions are Old Master paintings and European decorative arts. His latest foray has been into the world of design and interiors. Interiors projects […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Formerly the head of RBC Wealth Management’s art services, Luke Dugdale co-founded Cadell + Co (named after the Scottish Colourist) and oversees its advisory and strategic services. His vision was to help companies establish robust art policy and procedures to apply ‘the highest levels of professional standards to transactions in a sector that is unregulated, highly conflicted and usually outside the “comfort zone” of most fiduciaries’. ‘It is the first art advisory firm to be FCA-regulated, bringing professionalism and transparency to art transactions, art loans and introducing art portfolio management,’ says Dugdale. It is a response to a world where professional fiduciaries are beginning to realise that they have to start treating art with the same responsibility as other assets. Cadell + Co now has 30 trust companies on its books and is expanding into Singapore. Besides the five partners, they have 60 independent experts on call across the world, […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

‘There’s been a steady rise guided by people who like wine rather than people who like buying wine,’ says David Elswood, who is rejoicing that the market is back as it should be: ‘Strong, steady and a reliable place to invest.’ Prices have stabilised after the 2008-2013 boom and bust driven by China, and are gradually on the rise again. ‘The older guard prefer it to be modest increases and the slow, steady growth that we recognise as pre-2008,’ explains Elswood, who joined Christie’s in 1985 and has held the role of international head of wine sales and principal auctioneer since 2003. Unsurprisingly, he spends his life drinking ‘rare, exciting and exceedingly valuable wine’, currently favouring old port, ‘which is fantastically rewarding and financially not so scary’. Founded in 1766, Christie’s wine department is the oldest in existence. Auctions take place all year round in London, New York, Geneva and Hong Kong, […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

‘Our reputation is built on three rock-solid principles: knowledge, trust and discretion,’ proclaims central London-based Fiskens, the classic car dealership founded by Gregor Fisken, a British racing driver and businessman who races historic and modern-day sports cars. He’s credited with being one of a small handful of drivers to have raced in all four classes (LMP1, LMP2, GT1 and GT2) at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Fisken’s record as a businessman in the industry has been no less impressive, which he attributes to ‘a childhood spent immersed in vintage automobiles’. His interaction with cars as a commodity began when he took on a mechanics apprenticeship for famed pre-war automobile restorer and dealer Bunty Scott-Moncrieff. Fisken went on to leading auction house Coys, where he cut his teeth doing sales, before opening his own dealership in South Kensington in 1996. The market can be confusing and murky, Fisken says, […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Few are more qualified to navigate the art market than Joseph Friedman, a former Sotheby’s senior director who has also worked as an art adviser to the Foreign Office, the National Trust, and the J Rothschild Group. From his premises on Old Bond Street he sources works of art for private collectors, generally off-market, in addition to brokering sales, both by private treaty and at auction. Friedman’s principal focus is Old Master paintings and sculpture, Impressionist and Modern art, and 18th-century furniture and objects, and he has attracted a distinguished clientele which includes the Al-Fayed family, Kay Saatchi, film-makers Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, and Burberry’s Christopher Bailey. ‘The key is access to top collectors, whether as buyers or sellers, and striking the right balance in terms of price,’ says Friedman. He has particular expertise in the area of historical research, especially provenance. Friedman is concluding a major project, sourcing […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Cult Wines has a very clear modus operandi: ‘To provide a more bespoke portfolio management service for clients who have the intention of building up wine collections for capital appreciation and investment purposes,’ says founder and MD Tom Gearing. He would know. Gearing originally had his sights set on the City. However, with the investment wine market flourishing, he was presented with the opportunity to combine his passion for fine wine with an investment-based business, and so, in 2007, Cult Wines was born. Gearing, an Apprentice runner-up in 2012, has since grown the business from a small family-run start-up to one of the UK’s leading wine investment companies. Its global staff of 32 includes experts in financial markets as well as fine wine, and it has a new office in Hong Kong. Sales revenues have risen by 60 per cent in the past year alone. To build an enviable collection […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Bicester Heritage is the brainchild of Daniel Geoghegan, a property investment guru and lifelong classic car enthusiast. His vision was a ‘one-stop campus for historic car ownership’ on the site of the former RAF bomber station which he masterfully acquired from the MoD in 2013. Today, Bicester Heritage is an ever-expanding unique ecosystem where cars can be bought, stored, maintained, used and traded. More than 30 specialists, including dealers, are based on the 348-acre site, as is the auction house Brightwells, and events draw thousands of enthusiasts from around the world. ‘What we’re seeing here is continuous growth,’ explains Geoghegan, ‘with specialists reporting 100 per cent year-on-year uplifts in trade in some cases.’ Transactions in the classic car market are notably quality-driven, he adds: ‘Vehicles with the best provenance and in the right condition are very liquid and desirable. However, it’s an enthusiast’s market: people should buy cars they enjoy […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Thomas Gibson, who founded his eponymous gallery (now run by his son Hugh) in 1969 at the age of 26, now acts in an advisory capacity, having founded Thomas Gibson Art Advisory Services in 1996 when he was persuaded to take over private sales at Christie’s in an independent capacity. Gibson has sold works by Pollock to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, by Malevich and Magritte to the Tate, by Caravaggio to the National Gallery in London. His clients have included some of the greatest collectors of our time. When acting for sellers, Gibson says he can advise whether a particular work of art would be best sold privately or through the auction rooms. ‘In the latter case I am almost certain to be able to get advantageous terms for my clients, as the sale rooms know I will be a reliable source of high quality repeat business,’ […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

With 20 years of classic car auction experience, including ten years running RM Sotheby’s European division which he founded, Max Girardo founded Girardo & Co in June 2016. ‘I wanted to combine the marketing and contact base I have and take the higher end of the market and give a more tailored service to attend to the needs of fewer clients better,’ says Girardo. ‘Dealing with fewer cars, we have a lot more time. If you research a car properly you can add real monetary value. Don’t come to us if you want the cheapest, but it’ll be the best we can source.’ A recent high point was selling a Ferrari 250 LM. ‘It took a long time to track them all down, decide which one was best, call the owners and negotiate a purchase,’ he explains. ‘It was a very complicated and satisfying transaction. And we had a very […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

‘I prefer to sell cars that have an interesting history. I’m quite picky about that,’ says Robert Glover, who specialises in the sale of mostly pre-war historic sports, competition and touring motor cars. Formerly of Bonhams, where he managed the sale of veteran, Edwardian and post-vintage thoroughbreds as well as sports-racing and grand prix cars, he set up on his own at Bicester Heritage in 2013. While the modern classics often languish in storage, pre-war cars tend to be driven, says Glover, so while there is an eye to investment they tend to be purchased by a savvier, older-money crowd who keep the cars for a long time. ‘In four years I’ve only sold the same car twice,’ he says. A notable recent sale was an ex-Malcolm Campbell 1929 Sunbeam three-litre super sports which competed at the first Irish Grand Prix. Few are better connected or informed than Glover, who […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Since it started more than 30 years ago, JD Classics has become well known for ‘quality and attention to detail’ as a one-stop shop for everything from sales, restoration and servicing to racing show cars. It has a Mayfair showroom but is predominantly based in Essex, where it has a purpose-built workshop, extensive storage and seven showrooms. New MD David Godber trained as an economist and joined Lotus in 1998. Jobs at VW, Audi and Nissan followed before this, his first foray in to the classic car world. ‘As an economist I’ve seen the market shift dramatically,’ he says. ‘Through one lens it’s a fabulous hobby to have, through another lens it’s an alternative investment category that can’t be ignored.’ At JD Classics, it’s all about detail. ‘Whether it’s inside the car, underneath the car or outside the car, every nut and bolt has to be right for us to […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

It’s been another spectacular year for Goedhuis & Co, and not just because of the weaker pound which gave a boost to all UK wine merchants with stock. The charming Johnny Goedhuis, who established the merchant 36 years ago and still runs the show, speaks to Spear’s from grand new premises in Bermondsey. ‘We’ve specialised in Burgundy since the 1980s,’ he says. ‘There is a genuine love for Burgundy, particularly red Burgundy.’ Exemplary service has become synonymous with the firm, with Goedhuis himself even sometimes acting as a personal courier. A recent feat pulled off for a music industry client’s wedding in Provence is just one example. ‘They tried to place a last-minute order of Rock Angel directly from Château d’Esclans. The château was sold out, but we managed to get 20 cases delivered from the UK in 36 hours,’ says Goedhuis. For immediate drinking, Goedhuis recommends Giuseppe and Elisa […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

For Jamie Graham, nothing has topped drinking a 1982 Lafite and 1982 Mouton Rothschild with a client over a Chinese hotpot under the flight path of the old Hong Kong airport. ‘It felt like aeroplanes were landing on the roof, the whole place was shaking and we were almost spilling our wine across the table,’ he says. Graham learnt the ropes at Berry Bros, which he joined in 1989 – ‘for the very good reason that I turned out to be a hopeless soldier’, he says. He held senior positions at Farr Vintners and Fine & Rare Wines before setting up Brunswick in 2016. It turned over £4 million in sales in its first year. ‘It’s all about experience, knowledge and a love of wine, and I have met a number of different types of collectors,’ he says. ‘I like to get as close as I can to the people […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

An international and family-run gallery and advisory service dating back to 1936, the Richard Green team operates out of two galleries on Bond Street. Jonathan Green is now at the helm of this true Mayfair institution, which specialises in high-quality painting from the 17th century to the middle of the 20th. Business is booming, and it has added two Tefaf NY shows to its rich calendar of international art fairs. The gallery has sold some exquisite paintings, too, including Caspar Netscher’s Woman Feeding a Parrot (1666) to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. ‘The art market has been generally steady and robust,’ says Green. ‘There were short-term uncertainties owing to the election and the tragic terrorist attacks, but the strength of the US dollar has been very welcome and has had a positive effect on our sales.’ Green’s advice to speculative buyers is to look at the Dutch […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

An art advisory unit operating as a fiduciary within a bank, Citi’s was the first of its kind when it started organising art loans in 1979. ‘It’s a well-oiled machine,’ says fine art graduate Suzanne Gyorgy, the bank’s global head of art advisory and finance, who has been with Citi for 16 years. The rise in value in people’s art collections has made art finance a fast-growing business: average loans now amount to £35-40 million, compared to £20 million only a few years ago, with new lenders springing up all the time. Further, because the department is situated in a global bank, its rates are lower than those of boutique lenders. ‘I used to think people got art loans to buy more art, whereas the reality is people get art loans to have liquidity to invest in other businesses and opportunities. So they’re essentially doing an arbitrage with us,’ says […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Oxford graduate Alexander Hall took a sabbatical from investment banking to go and work on his stepfather’s vineyards in Malborough in New Zealand 15 years ago. ‘I was hooked and started plotting my departure,’ he recalls. A year later he was living in Bordeaux, ‘pruning vines, cleaning tanks and sitting on tractors’ – an immersive experience which afforded him knowledge and contacts in the region. Hall, who speaks fluent French and teaches at the prestigious École du Vin in Bordeaux, where he has lived since 2005, set up Vineyard Intelligence to offer on- and off-market property search in France, as well as audit, evaluation and negotiation services and post-acquisition advice. Although many people are drawn to the idea of owning a winery, it’s not a simple acquisition. ‘I am very honest with people and make them aware of the risks of owning and running a vineyard in advance,’ he states. […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Racing driver Duncan Hamilton, who was most famous for winning the 1953 24-hour Le Mans in a Jaguar C-Type, founded the firm in 1948 and it’s now run by his son Adrian, who took the reins in 1975. It remains one the world’s most prestigious and best-connected competition and classic car dealerships, and recently expanded with a new 20,000 sq ft facility in Winchester. ‘We’re a bit like an art dealer with wheels on each corner of the picture frame,’ says the eminently cheerful Hamilton, who’s seven years into building a collection of Gulf Oil-sponsored cars, which is now 38 strong and has recently doubled in value. His notable sales in the past year include a Porsche and a Ferrari, both of which fetched north of $20 million. ‘I have a large number of clients I quietly look after and gently make dreams come true for,’ says Hamilton, who has competed […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Unlike traditional merchants, Honest Grapes does not carry stock, which allows it to focus entirely on the client’s desires. The company has excellent contacts with producers across the world due in large part to charismatic, creative and articulate co-founder Tom Harrow, who’s also known as ‘the Wine Chap’. Harrow is very excited about the success of the 2016 Bordeaux campaign, especially in light of the diminished harvest in 2017 due to catastrophic frosts. Along with a lifelong love of Burgundy, he is also a fan of English sparkling wine, which has taken off thanks to the dip in the pound and a string of ‘really good vintages’ since 2009 (‘only 2012 was a disaster’). ‘Ten years ago we were half a degree the wrong side of a marginal climate. Now we’re half a degree the right side,’ he explains, recommending Exton Park in Hampshire, Herbert Hall in Kent, and Sussex’s […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Tom Hartley has a very clear vision when it comes to his eponymous specialist car dealership: ‘I simply like to specialise in the very best, most important automobiles,’ he says. Hartley’s cars vary from pre-war grand prix examples, ‘such as the [Mercedes-Benz] W125 I sold a few years ago’, right up to modern-day hypercars such as the Ferrari LaFerrari. He was single-minded from the start, leaving school at 11 to work for his father’s dealership, working his way up to become a 50:50 partner by the age of 16, before setting up Tom Hartley Jnr. His firm now offers unrivalled customer service and is the only dealer of its type in the world that is happy to buy the inventory it sells. ‘Whether you want to sell a Ferrari 250 California Spider or an Alfa 8C or the likes of a McLaren F1 or Porsche 918 Spyder, other dealers would […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

After a false start studying architecture, Richard Harvey took a job at Oddbins, which turned out to be a foot in the door of a glittering career in fine wine. A job at Prue Leith’s catering business followed, which led him to write Leith’s Guide to Wine and to set up his own wine merchant. Bonhams’ global head of wine is now the only Master of Wine employed by an auction house. Harvey relishes the auction world, ‘because we put together seven catalogues a year and it’s like creating a new wine list each time, or making the best wine shop in the world, for the weeks leading up to the sale – and then you start all over again’. London sales have been record-breaking this year, with Bordeaux particularly strong, though ‘there’s been more excitement surrounding Burgundy because there’s little of it and consumers are chasing the smaller market’. […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

It’s been a busy year for Stonehage Fleming’s art management department, which has just merged with Omni Arte, a Swiss art management company. Georgina Hepburne Scott now runs a team of six, based between London and Zurich, whose services are increasingly in demand. ‘We’ve widened our reach and boosted our offering and presence in the art market,’ she explains. ‘Trustees are realising their fiduciary responsibilities more and more when it comes to art,’ adds Hepburne Scott, who studied art history at the University of St Andrews before working at Foster + Partners. ‘The value of the collections they hold requires them to address issues and apply the same disciplines as they would to other areas of their wealth.’ Clients are based around the world and range from those who have inherited collections to those building them from scratch. Hepburne Scott and her team provide all the fiduciary art management services, […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Since joining Phillips as a researcher in 2008, Highley has diligently worked his way up the ladder to become a specialist and head of contemporary art evening sales in London, as well as auctioneer. While Phillips grows thanks to some ‘great hires and exciting new talent joining the company’, the international contemporary art market is in rude health too, with 1.7 per cent growth from 2015 to 2016 due to continued interest from both buyers and sellers. ‘We’re certainly confident about the current market,’ says Highley, who has auctioneered in London, Hong Kong and New York, and recently sold a Peter Doig for a record-breaking $28 million, a highlight of his promising career so far. His advice to those wanting to enter the at times overwhelmingly expansive contemporary art market is to get clued up, which means going to auctions, exhibitions and really doing your homework. ‘There’s just so much […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

The Fine Art Group invests in rare art for long-term capital development and advises some of the largest art funds in the world. It has overseen the sales of multimillion-dollar artworks and also has an art lending service. Founder and CEO Philip Hoffman began his foray into the art world when, having been identified as a financial prodigy, he was plucked from his accountancy job KPMG at the age of 27 to be finance director at Christie’s, where he stayed for 12 years. He became the youngest member of its management board at just 33, and later served as the deputy CEO for Europe. In 2001, he set up the first ‘art hedge fund’, the Fine Art Fund, investing $25 million, and started buying up blue-chips. That fund turned into six subsequent funds, branching out into auction guarantee funds and collection management, art advisory, art financing and auction underwriting, rebranding […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Last year BBR’s new CEO Dan Jago told Spear’s he’d landed the perfect job. A year on, he’s no less enthusiastic – and with good reason. ‘We’ve managed to improve the quality of the service and update the business while keeping the brand’s integrity intact. It’s an extraordinarily effective and wonderful brand,’ he says. Sales have grown and business has expanded in the US, Hong Kong and Singapore. The hugely successful online trading platform BBX is one of the best, while its private client offering, which comprises more than half the business, is a constant work in progress. ‘Just having an app is a bit five minutes ago,’ he says. The shop has moved around the corner though it remains on the same site, with bottles for £10-£20,000 available to take home for drinking the same night. BBR has also just launched its legendary Good Ordinary Claret in a double […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

With 23 years in the business, Surrey-based H&H Classics is the longest-established classic car auction house in the UK. It also offers a private sales service and storage, and since it only has six auctions a year it is able to give maximum attention to each car consigned, says Damian Jones, head of sales. Recent memorable sales have included the ex-John Coombs 1961 Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Competition Roadster (£858,000), the ex-HRH Prince Philip 1954 Lagonda 3 Litre Drophead Coupe (£346,800) and the 1964 Ferrari 330 GT ‘Nembo’ Spider (£609,500). Although some more traditional ‘blue-chip’ cars are worth less now, the downwards trend is not universal, Jones reassures Spear’s: ‘I do not foresee a collapse in the market. As a generalisation, quality counts, whether that’s in terms of restored condition or untouched reality.’ Advice to buyers is simple. ‘Buy the best example that you can afford,’ says Jones. ‘The biggest returns […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Known for his natural wit, affable manner and dextrous hammer-wielding skills, Jamie Knight is Bonhams’ much-loved motoring department director. A presence there since 1984, Knight might take credit for the department’s pre-eminence in the auction world – but he demurs. Instead he puts it down to the fact that Bonhams doesn’t work on commission: ‘We will always send the specialist who is the most knowledgeable about any given car,’ he says. The past year has seen the market ‘let off some steam’, he says, referring to a correction in prices following the boom after 2010. ‘The longer that level of growth and appreciation goes on, the more susceptible it is to a large correction,’ he explains. ‘The last thing anyone wants in an enthusiast’s market is volatility. It’s OK for the speculative investors, they thrive off it, but collectors want stability and then confidence to buy and sell when they […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Willstone Management was launched in 2010 when gallerist Olyvia Kwok switched to providing art investment portfolios for family offices and HNWs. As a gallerist she had introduced London collectors to Chinese contemporary art, emerging markets art, and the revival in Pop art. Her clients are buying art for investment purposes. ‘We tell our single-family-office clients to allocate 10 per cent of their assets to tangible, emotional assets because at the end of the day we trade in scarcity values, and there aren’t going to be any more Picassos painted,’ says Kwok. Other projects include the firm’s art finance arm, Willstone Capital, which recently launched an art financing facility aimed at shortening the transaction period for works of fine art guaranteed at auction. ‘Collectors like to sell artworks in order to buy new artworks but find the current available arrangements too constricting,’ explains Kwok. ‘We are being actively encouraged by the […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Post-university, Simon Larkin worked part-time for a top wine merchant, where he was encouraged to pursue a career in the industry. ‘I had to decide whether to take a job in the City or get side-tracked by wine,’ he says. ‘Happily, though, I got side-tracked by wine.’ Two decades later, in 2010, he founded Atlas Fine Wines. Based in the heart of the City, Atlas’s team of 11 – which includes two Masters of Wine – offers private clients a tailored approached to fine wine collecting. ‘Ninety per cent of what we sell is on a one-to-one relationship basis, which is fairly unique in the wine world,’ says Larkin. Last summer, exports picked up following the weakening of sterling as a result of the Brexit vote, with sales of Bordeaux to the US market on the up after a ‘relatively dormant’ period. With 2016 en primeur releases highly priced, there […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Charles Lea got into the business by mistake, catching the wine bug while working in Paris after leaving school. He went on to work at Château Latour and Moet & Chandon among others, followed by stints at Majestic and at Laytons, where he was buying director, before founding L&S with Patrick Sandeman in 1988. A full-service wine merchant, L&S has just launched a private client team focusing mainly on customers who wish to make en primeur purchases and those unable to visit the shop in person. The business imports nearly everything directly from growers, buying from small estates producing ‘high-quality wines with individuality and character’, many of which are organic or biodynamic. L&S is devoted to quality, often waiting years to persuade chosen producers to work with it. ‘We don’t buy wines in a box-ticking way – if we can’t find a Sancerre we really like, we won’t buy one […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Alexander Lewis’s exclusive classic car advisory helps HNWs buy and sell cars, facilitating deals between collectors off-market so that clients can avoid the mark-ups that come with buying at auction or from dealers. ‘It became obvious to me that HNWs wanted to transact in a private manner on a more sensible fee structure with someone that they trusted,’ explains Lewis, a former hedge-fund partner who decided to make his passion a career after 25 years in the City. Before going it alone, he cut his teeth at JD Classics, where he conceived and executed the launch of its first London showroom in Mayfair. ‘I found that buyers of art were also buyers of cars,’ he says. Lewis says the market has flattened out, but that’s no bad thing: ‘It is simply a function of how much values have gone up already. There’s no sign of a bubble bursting; just a […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

‘Anyone serious about investing in wine should be doing their research based on reliable, comprehensive data, rather than simply sticking a finger in the air,’ says Ella Lister, an Oxford graduate, wine writer and former investment banker who founded Wine Lister, a revolutionary online tool for evaluating the market. ‘Fine wine has been slower than some other industries to embrace technology and data, but that is definitely changing,’ explains Lister. ‘With Wine Lister, I wanted to bring those two worlds together, applying some of the analytical rigour of investment banking to the fine wine market.’ Launched in 2016, it’s the first platform to combine qualitative and quantitative data using algorithms to distil them into a single score. While this kind of data has historically been disparate and incomplete, Wine Lister brings it all together. The aim, says Lister, is ‘to help subscribers become smarter wine collectors’. Lister’s job affords her […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Macari started trading cars to help finance his dream of being a racing driver, but a racing accident led him to focus on the business, which he did no less passionately. ‘Like everything, the competitive side of you comes out and you want to be the best,’ he says. Today, the Joe Macari Group consists of an active, independent used car sales business, an official Ferrari and Maserati after-sales business, and a racing and accident management business, with a magnificent showroom in south-west London. He was granted an official Ferrari and Maserati franchise for a new purpose-built service centre in 2007, and also has the rubber stamp to authorise Ferrari Classiche certification. If you love Ferraris, Macari is your man. ‘I’m dealing with kings of countries, one day a pop star, then a City broker, then someone who runs a building company. That’s the thing about cars, there’s no class […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

‘When you’re passionate, you have an unerring memory,’ says Wine Owners founder Nick Martin. A tech investment guru and former MD of a marketing company, he reels off such a long and detailed list of the best wines he’s drunk so far this year that Spear’s has to politely ask him to stop. ‘The reason we built Wine Owners was because the world was full of wine brokers and merchants but nowhere for collectors to call home,’ he says. Founded in 2011, it is a trading exchange and online platform for managing and tracking your wine collection. It also provides white-labelled technology platforms for HNWs who need help managing their extremely large wine collections. This second part of the business has ‘exploded’ in the past year. The market is looking very healthy, says Martin, with a 22 per cent rise in value among blue-chip wines, due in large part to […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Lance McCormack, who started off as a Rolls-Royce apprentice, has been in the car restoration business for more than 40 years. He’s a craftsman, and when he’s not beating ‘metal into all sorts of shapes’ you’ll find him teaching product design – ‘very detailed metal work’ – to students at the Royal College of Art. Speaking to Spear’s from his new workshop in Brentford, where he works with his son Algernon, McCormack is preparing an Aston Martin DB4 GT for the Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance. It’s just one of many projects he has on the go for Aston Martin heritage dealers who outsource specialist metal work out to McCormack. ‘I’ve got DB4s, DB5s and DB6s in. These are investment cars. They are gold bars with a known value and they are very marketable,’ he explains. McCormack’s fantasy car is an early Bentley T1 two-door fixed-head coupe by Mulliner Park Ward, […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Duke of London has exploded from a classic car brokerage into a veritable classic car world giant in the space of just four years. The 21,000sq ft facility in Brentford includes a 30-car showroom, an engine shop and a servicing department among others, and the company has just signed a lease for a third property which will house a paint shop, tyre shop and trim shop. The goal, says founder Merlin McCormack, 23, is a ‘one-stop shop for classic car enthusiasts’. Although the market is not as profitable as it was a few years ago, it has found a new confidence, says McCormack, who started working at his father’s classic car restoration workshop Romance of Rust (see below left) at the age of eight and by 11 was selling cars on eBay at a profit. Aside from the blue-chips, cars to look out for are the ‘poster cars of the […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Johnny Messum runs Messum’s Wiltshire, a pioneering art, design and sculpture centre in a 13th-century thatched barn – the largest of its kind in the UK – in an idyllic English countryside setting. The aim is to support a range of contemporary creative talent working within art, ceramics, dance, music and more, by organising workshops and exhibitions which introduce the artists to the public. After a stint at Christie’s, followed by 15 years as a director at his family’s eponymous gallery on Cork Street, Messum decided to ‘realign a disconnect between the artists who were making the work and why they were making it, and the reasons people were buying it’. There is, he notes, a growing interest among collectors and enthusiasts for ‘quality of hand’ in areas such as ceramics. ‘The value of making is very much on the ascent,’ he asserts. Messum, who will return to Cork Street […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Founded by Paul Michaels in 1963, Hexagon focuses on Porsches, Ferraris and Aston Martins. ‘We specialise in low-mileage, perfect, historical cars with a really good provenance, where there are no ifs and buts at all to do with what they are,’ says Michaels. The market has stabilised since the 15-30 per cent gains of 2015. ‘Nothing is sustainable at that level,’ he explains. ‘People are now being much more careful to make sure the product is as good as they can get for the price.’ Good provenance and mileage are the keys: ‘A Porsche Turbo that’s done sub-20,000 miles has a 50 per cent premium over one that’s done 60,000.’ Few can claim to have watched the market evolve over as long a period as Michaels. ‘What’s happened is the “Canary Wharf effect”: when I started, the classics were from the Twenties and Thirties. Now the people whose poster cars […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

James Mitchell started out as a showroom cleaner at Fiskens, where he had ‘the very rare opportunity of being able to deal with the very best cars’. After a 12-year ascent he left, wrote a book about Jaguar and set up Pendine, which specialises in postwar British sports and racing cars. Trading out of Bicester Heritage since 2015, he says he’s privileged to be established in what is ‘Europe’s most important old car venue’. ‘The London muses used to be the hub, but that has changed since London’s got busier. Bicester has taken up that slack,’ says Mitchell, who drives a Jaguar E-Type while quietly coveting a Frazer Nash. Although just two years in, Mitchell has a strong European clientele and notes a significant increase in interest from France and Germany since the pound became weaker following the EU referendum. Recent sales have included an Aston DB4GT and a Jaguar […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Established in 2003, Corfield Morris is a boutique advisory of seasoned experts and former Sotheby’s and Christie’s directors. Its experts advise on buying and selling art from contemporary works to Old Masters, as well as jewellery, furniture and classic cars. The firm’s unique selling point is a willingness to work with newcomers ‘who don’t understand the commodity or the marketplace and may not trust the people they’re dealing with. We aim to hold their hands and make sure any pitfalls are avoided,’ says Daniel Morris, a former director at Sotheby’s who co-founded the firm. He notes a general dwindling in connoisseurship among buyers, who are less likely than before to ‘have pored over tomes in libraries and museums’. The result is that ‘the power of the visual object in its own essence is becoming more obvious’, he explains: ‘A painting by an unknown artist without a particular provenance of note […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

From his three-storey gallery in Pall Mall, at the original epicentre of London’s art scene going back 300 years, art sleuth Philip Mould lets Spear’s in on his heart’s desire: a flower painting by Cedric Morris, a plants man who taught Lucian Freud to paint. ‘I’m a great enthusiast of wild flowers and it’s great to have a fusion of the artistic and natural,’ says Mould, who is also swooning over a ‘drop-dead beautiful Augustus John of a poetic looking Welsh girl reclining in a valley overlooking the sea in Wales in 1920’. ‘It’s modern British lyricism,’ he explains. Mould, who has rediscovered and revived van Dycks and once bought a Gainsborough on eBay for £120, is a noted seller of portrait miniatures and a strong and vocal proponent of Old Masters in an art world swamped by contemporary works. Old Masters continue to hurt, he says, but he’s confident […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Described as ‘one of the foremost print dealers in the world’, Frederick Mulder has been a private art dealer since 1971, dealing in original prints from the 15th to 20th centuries. He has dedicated his career to celebrating and promoting the diversity, originality and beauty of the printed medium, whether etching, lithograph or other technique. Mulder’s practice originally spanned the entire history of printmaking from the 1460s, but he now specialises in Picasso, whose prints often came out in editions of 50. The gallery’s holdings of the artist are thought to be among the most extensive in the world, and are regularly lent out to museums for major exhibitions. The practice also works closely with private collectors to build their collections or undertake private assignments on their behalf. Too often, says Mulder, his field is misperceived by collectors. ‘The word “print” is the same word as for a reproduction, but […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

A hundred feet below the hills of Corsham, Wiltshire, you’ll find some of the finest wine in the world encased in solid Bath stone. A former mine, Octavian is the go-to cellar for many of the world’s leading wine merchants, wine funds and restaurants, as well as having more than 10,000 customers from 39 countries. Octavian stores £1 billion-worth of fine wine in more than a million cases, more than 100 of which are pre-1800 vintages, and some of which have been there for more than 20 years. ‘It’s one of the safest storage places in the world: because it’s underground, very little can go wrong,’ says MD Vincent O’Brien. It’s been a year of firsts for Octavian Vaults, including helping a customer take out a loan on his wine collection for £20 million. ‘It has sparked a lot of interest,’ says O’Brien. The company has also welcomed a resident […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Born in Cork, Patrick O’Connor had little exposure to fine wine growing up. But as a teenager he did his first harvest and he hasn’t looked back, making his way up at Fine & Rare to become one of the youngest CEOs in the wine industry at the age of 40. Fine & Rare has a network of agents, reservists, traders, private clients and industry relationships, giving it access to more than 75,000 fine wines globally. It looks after a broad range of HNWs, from novices to connoisseurs, and since it holds no stock it is able to offer completely impartial advice. O’Connor’s main interest is Bordeaux. ‘I like the balance and structure, and its ability to deal with food better than any other wine. I like it when it’s young and when it matures,’ he says. He is also passionate about Château Rayas in the Northern Rhône, which is […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Bradley James Classics specialises in everyday working classics mostly from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, explains founder and MD Danny O’Keeffe. Based in the Hampshire countryside, it sells, restores and stores classic cars and has built up a wide spectrum of clients. ‘We want to sell cars that you can use every day, rather than a show queen that’s kept in a bubble and taken out to go to car shows – we’re not so much into that,’ says O’Keeffe. Among sports cars, the British makes such as Austin-Healey, MG and Triumph are popular, while Jaguar and Rover are the in-demand saloons. O’Keeffe set up the business in 2006, becoming full-time MD three years ago, after giving up his job as an exotic trader at Goldman Sachs, where he dealt in cars, among other alternative assets. The market is buoyant, he says. ‘We see young people who, rather than putting […]


1858 LTD

Top Recommended Art Advisers

With offices in London, Düsseldorf, Paris, New York and Sydney, and a client and contact base stretching from Malaysia to Mexico City, 1858’s aim is to help you fulfil your art collecting objectives, whatever they may be. It covers all aspects of the collecting life cycle, providing strategic advice around transactions, curating, building collections and collection management – the latter an offering which has grown significantly over recent years. ‘Clients understand that when art represents a serious component of their assets it needs to be managed with the same level of due diligence and expertise as their other holdings,’ says managing director Viola Raikhel-Bolot, who co-founded the business with Harvey Mendelson. ‘The key point of differentiation is our platform of independence, impartiality and transparency,’ she says. ‘We want to provide the best market intelligence to our clients so that they are making informed decisions, so they understand the market better.’ […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Smith & Taylor has been specialising in the storage and management of wine since 1986, when it was founded by Sebastian Riley-Smith (a descendant of John Smith of brewery fame), who still runs the company. Its state-of-the-art Chelsea Bridge cellars have been completely refurbished in the past year with the addition of four ultra-modern conditioning turbines and humidifiers for optimum wine storing conditions. ‘Clients want to centralise their wine holdings in one store, on one inventory, with one custodian, with one line of accountability,’ says Riley-Smith, adding that stock can be accessed globally and delivered to wherever the client chooses. ‘Wealth is global now,’ says Riley-Smith. ‘The rich have become nomads, moving between one financial centre and another.’ The key to Smith & Taylor’s success? ‘Being a coalition of work,’ Riley-Smith explains. Not only does it store wine, it also moves and packs wine from private homes, delivers from store, […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Jamie Ritchie started buying wine by the case when he was 17 after he had an epiphany: ‘I realised that if I lived until I was 70 and drank a bottle of wine a day, then I’d drink over 20,000 bottles, so I thought I had better make that an enjoyable and interesting experience.’ Ritchie joined Sotheby’s in 1990, becoming global head in 2016, a role which requires him to oversee worldwide sales of $65-$90 million per year. Who better to take on the role than Ritchie, who was responsible for launching Sotheby’s wine auctions in New York in 1994 and in Hong Kong in 2009, and recently launched Sotheby’s Wine, a retail store and online wine business. In the meantime, he’s racked up a seriously impressive list of auction records. In particular, the sale of a jeroboam of Château Mouton Rothschild 1945 in 2007 for $310,700 made it the […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

Auction house Coys of Kensington has been dealing with fine motorcars since 1919 when, in its traditional home at Queen’s Gate Mews, it quickly became a mecca for classic car enthusiasts. It’s since moved to a new purpose-built facility in Richmond with sales and display facilities. Chris Routledge, who has been at the company since 1991 and was appointed CEO two years ago, started out working for a boutique dealer in a London mews as a teenager. The first car he sold was a white 1935 Bentley 3.5-litre Park Ward drophead coupe. ‘I’ve been surrounded by everybody’s dream cars ever since, so my taste is fairly eclectic,’ he says, ‘but certainly a Mercedes Benz 300 SLR would do me nicely.’ Auctions take place in the most glamorous locations across the UK and Europe, from Alexandra Palace and Blenheim Palace to the Interclassics auction in Maastricht and the Mondial de l’Automobile […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Fed up with the inflated prices of fine wines in London’s restaurants, in December 2015 hedge-fund manager Grant Ashton founded 67 Pall Mall in a Grade II-listed building at that address – a former bank designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Its membership sold out almost immediately, and includes some of the world’s top winemakers. The good news is it’s expanding into the first floor of the building, which will include a lounge area and a new bar with 103 extra seats. In preparation for the grand opening, they’ve reopened the membership. And if you love wine, you really should consider joining, says Niels Sherry, who oversees operations. The club boasts 15 world-class sommeliers – six up on last year – and a choice of more than 5,000 wines at palatable prices. Plus, once the extension opens, they’ll have 900 wines available by the glass. ‘It’s unheard of,’ says Sherry. ‘We […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

Wine writer, consultant, vineyard owner and former merchant, Steven Spurrier is simply a legend in the industry. When he created the Judgement of Paris on 24 May 1976 – a historic event at which experts rated Californian wines above Bordeaux in a blind tasting – he single-handedly changed the world’s perception of the industry. It has been quite a year for Spurrier, who was appointed honorary president of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and elevated to chairman emeritus for the Decanter World Wine Awards. He says the biggest challenge facing the industry at the moment is ‘persuading the customer to pay just a little bit more to get better than average quality’, and he would know. Currently focused on finishing his memoirs – Wine, a Way of Life – out in November, he was in reflective mood when he spoke to Spear’s, recalling the Hermitage La Chapelle 1961 […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Ralph Taylor, whose expertise in British art stretches back to the Sixties, joined Bonhams after a masters at the Courtauld and jobs at Sotheby’s and emerging-artist gallery Lazarides, where he is said to have been instrumental in shaping the careers of the likes of Banksy, JR and Jonathan Yeo. Three years into his role as senior director of the postwar and contemporary department, Taylor has put Bonhams on the map in a difficult market and has enjoyed every second. ‘You need to be a hustler, be decisive and have a very thick skin,’ he explains. ‘It’s thrilling. We’re an insurgent, so there’s great pleasure in every victory.’ Victories have been aplenty, with a record year which saw three top sales in the history of the company, in spite of a contemporary art market which has contracted substantially. ‘It’s all very well, rising with the rising tide as we were in […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

‘Art is almost like a religion,’ says Emily Tsingou, explaining why the art market just keeps on growing. ‘There are a lot of disciples out there and more and more people getting into it.’ Few art advisers are better positioned than Tsingou – a former curator and art writer who ran her own contemporary art gallery for ten years – to help you navigate it. It’s all about great works of provenance and exhibition history at the moment; and the rise in connoisseurship among buyers and collectors is notable. ‘Connoisseurship is coming into the market more,’ she explains. ‘People don’t want a generic work by an artist; they want the work that defines the artist in that moment in time.’ You get what you pay for from Tsingou, who is prepared to be involved ‘24/7’ if that’s what the client requires. Her client base – which includes both individuals and […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

When Peter Vardy – son of motor industry giant and philanthropist Sir Peter Vardy and grandson of Reg Vardy, who started dealing cars in 1923 – sets out to expand his vast operation (he employs 900 people and has 13 dealerships) into heritage car sales, restoration and transportation, it’s safe to guess he’ll make a success of it. It’s only a year into the venture, which is based in Glasgow, and Vardy has already sold cars to international footballers, media personalities and HNWs based in the UK and abroad. His vision is to offer a broad range of models across the whole price spectrum, so ‘there’s something for everyone’. ‘We’re trying to do something on a bigger scale than most people have tried so far,’ he says. ‘Our aim is to become the top classic car dealers in the UK. It’ll take time to get there, but there’s an awful […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Gurr Johns started as a valuations business and branched out into advisory more than 20 years ago. Its focus is now advisory, even though its core experience in valuations means clients receive a unique breadth of expertise. ‘Because of the range of specialists we have, we are able to advise across a broader field than any other art advisory business,’ says Anthony Verschoyle, who has been an adviser for more than 30 years. The firm specialises in 20th century, contemporary, and Old Masters, but it is often called on to counsel on Chinese art and beyond. A good adviser is straightforward with the client and discreet, says Verschoyle, with ‘the humility to take outside advice’. Gurr Johns does not as a rule advise clients to buy for investment, as fashion and geopolitics can leave them disappointed. Old Masters selectively show very good value, but it’s very easy to overpay. ‘The […]



Top Recommended Wine Experts

A former head of the wine buying department at Harrods, Alistair Viner joined Hedonism Wines in 2011 and has helped it collate more than 10,500 lines of wines and spirits, as well as making sure it gives a concierge level of service in a relaxed environment. The Mayfair emporium has ‘the biggest range of wines readily available in store in the world’, he says, including wines across the market – not just the very top. And the emphasis is very much on popping corks. ‘The aim is that people buy it and drink it,’ says Viner. ‘That’s why it’s in the bottle.’ Although Hedonism continues to grow its stock successfully year on year, operating in such a competitive industry doesn’t come without its trials. ‘Trying to replace some of the fine and rare wines we’ve sold is increasingly difficult,’ Viner explains. ‘Unlike a packet of biscuits, you can’t just make […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

‘Art is a fertile tool, particularly at a time of political and economic uncertainty,’ says Nine AM founder Bettina von Hase. ‘It’s a life-affirming passion, which lightens our lives and enriches us.’ Von Hase has just returned from an art fair marathon, a regular assignment where she discovers new works for her clients. She has specialised in European and American modern and contemporary art for three decades. Before founding her advisory service Nine AM in 1997, von Hase helped launch Tate Modern, when she was working for then chairman Dennis (now Lord) Stevenson. She later acted as art adviser to Selfridge’s and Tod’s, among other high-profile roles. Nine AM now focuses mostly on private collectors, with whom von Hase maintains relationships which deepen over the years. ‘People have become much more sophisticated,’ she says. ‘Contemporary art now has a commanding presence in the market. Today, everyone who has an interest […]



Top Recommended Art Advisers

Former banker Randall Willette founded Fine Art Wealth Management in 2003 ‘to integrate art more actively into the wealth management strategy for HNW clients’, he says. ‘Art in terms of wealth creation has become a serious business,’ he says. ‘In the last ten years people have started looking at it more strategically and at the role that plays in people’s estates.’ The firm, which is membership-based, is essentially a consultancy that offers training and workshops, networking, market intelligence, and research on financial planning around art assets. As the interests of financial families with exceptional art wealth have become more diversified, Willette saw a need for aggregating expert knowledge around ‘governance’ to ‘help establish the guidelines of how collections are going to be managed, and how the decisions around that are made’, he says. The firm has strong relationships with a long list of experts. It’s all about developing ‘best practice […]



Top Recommended Classic Car Experts

‘The market is buoyant,’ says Nigel Woodward, who’s delighted about his new role as MD at Bridgnorth-based CMC, which he has joined from Jaguar Land Rover, where he ran the classic car department. ‘It’s the culmination of my career,’ says Woodward, who started out as a technician at BMW and later worked at Aston Martin. Renowned in particular for its Jaguar restorations, CMC’s team of engineers and technicians provides an international client base with a range of services, including full restorations and even bespoke car design and manufacture, as well as storage. ‘Hopefully we offer not just the ability to restore cars and bring them back to their former glory, but also to help maintain and service and prepare them and keep them on the road,’ says Woodward. ‘Everything is under one roof, and because the entire process takes place here, we have complete quality control.’ As well as restoring […]