With Home Wine Cellars Becoming a Lifestyle Feature, La Playa launches holistic Fine Wine Insurance offering

Published: 10/11/2017

It’s estimated that at least £2-3 billion of fine wine is now stored in home cellars in the UK.  After the 5-year dominance of Chinese wine buyers started to decline in 2011, European and American buyers are now re-entering the market – and as well as wine becoming a serious asset class for investors, architect-designed display cellars are increasingly a lifestyle must-have. But with flooding on the rise, and many private wine collections stored underground, protecting it with specialist insurance is crucial.

Award-winning independent insurance broker La Playa has launched a new Fine Wine Insurance offering for private wine collectors, combining specialist cover with advice and concierge services. The holistic package includes advice on cellar management, buying and selling, protecting wine – and three times a year, Sarah will provide personalised wine pairings for special meals. The launch took the form of a wine tasting of exciting Napa Valley wines on Thanksgiving at Clerkenwell London, with one of the few female Masters of Wine, Sarah Abbott.

The issues wine collectors face include:

  • Under-insurance: when wine is part of general contents insurance, it’s hard to keep the ‘sums insured’ up to date – especially given the volatile wine market
  • Compromised wine quality and trade-ability from damaged bottles and opened cases
  • Lack of knowledge of how to protect wine in the event of a flood or other disruption
  • Flooding resulting in labels being washed off
  • Heat affecting the organoleptic quality and age-worthiness: failed aircon or cooling fridges could compromise the ageing process
  • Issues with moving wine and wine in transit – collectors have an increasingly international lifestyle.

All these eventualities have been considered in crafting La Playa’s wine insurance.  Fine wines derive their value from the aesthetic complexity and rarity they develop with age.  The context or environment in which this process takes place is important because wines become more delicate with age. Extremes of temperature, variation in humidity and vibration can damage their quality and the predictability of their evolution.  Which is why you need specialist insurance.

Based in London, Cambridge and New York, La Playa can insure wine on a standalone policy, or as part of clients’ wider home insurance, or on a portfolio policy that takes care of all their collections, homes, cars, boats on a single policy.

Our specialist insurance for fine wines covers:

  • Physical loss or damage worldwide, including wine in transit
  • New acquisitions, up to 25% of the total amount insured
  • Loss of resale value due to labels being washed off or made illegible by flood or other accident
  • Loss of organoleptic quality and age-worthiness resulting from a sudden and unforeseen incident
  • Compromised ageing as a result of failed air-conditioning/cooling fridges.

In partnership with Master of Wine Sarah Abbott (CEO, Swirl Wine Concierge),clients will enjoy preferential rates on cellar management and stock systems, advice on selling and purchasing, authentication and valuation, private wine tuition, invitations to private tastings and ‘meet the maker’ events.  Three times a year, clients can email Sarah a menu, and she will provide a personal recommendation for wines to complement the food.

It’s fantastic having Sarah on hand – not only to help clients with security and disaster prevention, but also when something goes wrong and we need to make a claim”, says La Playa’s Mike Taylor-West, Private Client Director.  “She can help us with on-site inventory to make claims quicker and easier, organoleptic analysis to establish the extent of damage, specialist 3rd party wine storage during renovations, transport and packing, liaison with loss adjusters, and replacing lost wine – or sale for salvage

Many wine collectors love to cellar their wines at home – they get a lot of pleasure from being able to share their wines at short notice, or to make a feature of their passion with a show cellar”, says Sarah Abbott MW, CEO Swirl Wine Concierge. “I’m delighted to be working with the lovely and talented people at La Playa to offer specialised wine insurance – and concierge services

Case studies

Collection ‘cooked’ – After a flood, a collector brought in expert concierge advice to help with salvage.  But before the expert arrived, his housekeeper used heaters and dehumidifiers to try to dry the damage – and ‘cooked’ the entire collection.

Epic Fall – A large quantity of 2000 Claret was moved onto racks to be laid down – but the rack fell from the wall overnight breaking 70 bottles.

Wedding Wine – Wine was purchased for a client’s daughter’s wedding reception, and was stolen during a break-in.

Expensive Mistake – An 1890 bottle of Chateaux Lafitte was knocked off the rack and smashed. It was dated 1890 and belonged to Late Queen Mother – the cost of replacement was paid by the insurer.

Foul Water – Foul and contaminated water rose up from drainage networks around the property and flooded the cellar. As the corks of the low-lying bottles had come into contact with the contaminated water, they had to be written off.

La Playa’s Fine Wine Insurance for Private Collectors is a holistic approach that supports wine lovers with a real passion, who prefer to keep their collection at home.


Ready to work with us?

You can call us to talk more about your insurance on +44 (0)1223 200650 or +44 (0)20 3865 0149

Photo of Mike Taylor-West ACII

Mike Taylor-West ACII


Direct Dial: +44 (0) 203 290 1774

Mobile: +44 (0) 7500 109737


Twitter: @MTWLaPlaya