Wine Investments That Pay Dividends in the Glass
Master sommelier Ian Cauble founded SommSelect to serve collectors who are more interested in laying down wines to drink than saving them for auction. Here, Cauble shares insights on under-explored regions, cellar-worthy wines that pay dividends in complexity and taste, and trophy bottlings that may disappoint.
In 2014, Ian Cauble and Brandon Carneiro decided to give their dreams the old college try. Classmates at Sonoma State University in Northern California, they found themselves in separate parts of the wine business, yet each had a desire to do something on his own—something that met a specific need in the marketplace.
Ten years after graduation, Cauble—who was working at the time as a sommelier at a renowned restaurant in Las Vegas—gained a degree of notoriety through his appearance in the documentary Somm, which traces the experiences of several hopefuls preparing for their master-sommelier exam. (Cauble passed in 2012.) Carneiro, an economics major in college, had completed his MBA and was employed in fine-wine sales during this period. Together they founded SommSelect, an online wine service that, on a daily basis, offers new wines they have uncovered—often from out-of-the-way places. Customers may purchase wines individually or receive curated selections in a single shipment. Cauble con-centrates on the wine choices while Carneiro runs operations, although they often taste together. “People have said that one of us is the right brain and the other the left brain,” notes Carneiro, touching upon the two critical aspects of wine collecting: art and business. With this in mind, we asked Cauble which regions and producers he recommends that contemporary collectors include in their cellars—particularly those who measure the return on their investment in terms of pleasure rather than dollars.