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Singapore Opening Signals Strong Confidence in Asia Wine Sales

An ambitious Singaporean wine storage facility is expected to open in the first half of 2014, and is the most convincing example yet of the importance of value-added wine storage and logistics services within the region.

An artist’s rendition of the proposed Singapore Wine Vault, set to open in the second quarter of 2013

The Singapore Wine Vault stretches over an impressive 750,000 sq ft, and will have the capacity to house over 10 million bottles, making it the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

Located along Fishery Port Road in West Singapore, the six-storey, SG$200 million facility will offer exacting climate control, off-grid power backup and state-of-the-art security – optimum storage conditions for the region’s investment-grade wines.

“Wine is a perishable product and requires expert handling,” says CWT Limited Group CEO Loi Pok Yen.

“A wine’s delicate chemistry and aging process can be altered by heat, light and humidity.

“This is particularly relevant in Southeast Asia where there is high humidity, varying temperatures and irregular transportation networks.”

The facility will also offer a host of value-added services for consumers who are accustomed to the finer things in life.

“We offer not only storage – we’re adding value and thinking out of the box,” Leaw Tiew San, CEO, Contract Logistics, CWT (SEA), told the Drinks Business Hong Kong. ”Wine is a lifestyle. So you want to drink in a nice environment. We see it as a growing trend.”

Increasingly, Asian investors are appreciating the value of fine wine, and recent reports indicate continued growth throughout the region in terms of wine investment, appreciation and consumption.

“Demand is increasing and we consider that in the next two to three years there will be many more people drinking, and investing in, wines. Investment wines are a hobby – if you lose money you can drink it!”

The Singapore Wine Vault comprises a main chamber and a separate area named Drôme, which is devoted to private wine cellars with customisable layouts and bespoke security systems.

CWT Limited Group CEO Loi Pok Yen

“I hope it can be soon – within the next 18 months – that we can reach the 10 million capacity,” Leaw says. “Price-wise we’re competitive.”

The company already has 4.5 million bottles in storage in an existing facility.

Leaw says the company is anticipating a mix of customers including collectors, wine funds, etc. but says that he expects mostly private wine collectors to use the facility.

The facility is a wholly owned subsidiary of CWT Logistics, part of the CWT Group, the largest logistics company in Southeast Asia, according to Forbes Asia.

“We are not only secure in terms of security – cameras, fingerprint scanners, we’re also secure in terms of financials – we’re a listed company,” he says. “If you have a million [Singaporean dollars] worth of wine with me, you’ll feel alright. If you have them with a company that could go under, I think you couldn’t sleep at night.”

The company currently offers logistics from airfreight to storage and delivery. Leaw says they are not looking at sourcing for the time being.

“The aim is to supply wine for collectors around the region,” he says. “If you want to bring wine from France to Singapore we can do that for you, and if you want to transport wine from Singapore to Hong Kong we can do that as well.”

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