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December 2006


WINE & SPIRITS

Binary Cellars
By Baroness Sheri de Borchgrave

A HIGH-TECH STORAGE HOUSE BRINGS ORDER TO EVEN THE MOST EXTENSIVE WINE COLLECTIONS

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When I wrote sex columns for Cosmopolitan magazine, I used to field a steady stream of offers from potential research assistants inviting me to expand my knowledge by coming up to their place. As a wine columnist, gentlemen oenophiles now vie for my attention with exhortations to drop by their cellars. Whether these facilities are enormous and state of the art or merely an unfinished basement, they generally have one thing in common: boxes, boxes and more boxes. When collectors outgrow their shelf space, as inevitably happens once the collecting fever has gripped them, the cases start piling up. It doesn't make for an alluring spot for seduction.

Vintrust, an all-encompassing "liquid" asset management service, promises to bring instant order—and sex appeal—to even the most disheveled collection. In operation on the West Coast for the last four years, the company recently expanded east, opening a brand new storage facility in the New York area. The firm, a kind of brokerage house for wine, advises, inventories, stores, updates and offers advise on what to buy and sell, what to hold and what to drink. Each collector/client is assigned a personal adviser/sommelier to analyze current holdings and discuss expansion plans. The firm's quarterly magazine, SOMM Selections, is a buying guide with detailed reviews by some of the country's top sommeliers.

This innovative approach to personal wine management is the brainchild of founder and CEO Andre de Baubigny. The project began with an online inventory system designed to allow collectors to manage their portfolios from afar.

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