It's not uncommon to take out lines of credit against valuable collections, homes or other property. But what about wine? St. Louis wine storage company Domaine debuted its WineCredit program two years ago and is now expanding due to customer demand. We called Domaine Wine Storage president Marc Lazar to hear about the new program and find out just what borrowing against your wine collection means.
This is such an interesting idea. Where did it come from? We've been in the wine storage business about 10 years — we opened our first facility in 2006. People tend hold on to their wine collections for a very long time, and they sit and mature. Many wine collectors are also entrepreneurs or business people, and they take out loans against homes, etc. We've had clients sell their entire collection because there was something they had to jump on.
Why add this feature to your storage services? There really wasn't enough capacity in the market or enough borrowing power for anyone to make a product out of this [until now]. It's really a customer service feature — something people have been asking about. If you store at one of our competitors, they're not going to help you get a loan against your wine while it's maturing.
What kind of a response have you gotten from clients? It's crazy. We had a story in the New York Times [last] Friday; it was a picture of me and my warehouse guys and a half page story in the business section of the Sunday Times. We've had people calling saying, "I want to move my wine over to you, so that I can then use this product down the road." It's been truly humbling, the response, and a little surprising.
Why should collectors work with Domaine? Regarding lending, the main thing is [to] get in touch. We can tell you very quickly what your collection is worth, and whether it's something you may be interested in. You really have to have a $50,000-plus collection to make it worthwhile from a paperwork standpoint. Which isn't that much wine — a lot of people have that much wine and don't even realize it.
What's next for Domaine? We just moved to a brand new building in Grand Center. We encourage anyone to come by any time. We're friendly — it's not a snobby wine business. Domaine is becoming a gathering place for wine collectors and ideas; most of the things we do started as client requests. We have these bring-your-own, informal tastings where clients and friends come and we have an informal happy hour, popping bottles on Friday afternoons. It was totally spontaneous and organic. We're going to do more and more customer engagement things going forward, making our buildings a hub for the wine community.
Domaine Wine Storage, 3300 Samuel Shepard Dr., Grand Center, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.667.5328, domainestorage.com.