Cult Wines have a clear modus operandi: ‘To provide a more bespoke portfolio management service for clients who have the intention of building up wine collections for capital appreciation and investment purposes,’ says founder and MD Tom Gearing. A former runner up on The Apprentice, he originally had his sights set on the City. However, with the investment wine market flourishing, he was presented with the opportunity to combine his passion for fine wine with an investment-based business, and so, in 2007, Cult Wines was born. Gearing has since grown the business from a small family-run start-up to one of the UK’s leading wine investment companies. They are based in a new 4,500 sq ft office in Hammersmith with a staff of 28, which includes financial markets experts and fine wine experts, and a new office in Hong Kong. They’ve increased their sales revenues, which are projected to reach £30 million on August 31, by 50 per cent in the last year alone. ‘To build an enviable collection which will achieve investment returns,’ Gearing recommends a diverse portfolio comprising 60 per cent Bordeaux plus wines from Burgundy, Champagne, Italy, California, Napa Valley, and the Rhone Valley — the latter of which is looking undervalued at the moment. Gearing says that an ‘unbelievable, aromatic, expressive and silky’ 1990 Haut Brion at the peak of its maturity was by far the best wine he’s had this year.