A letter from BI Wines & Spirits founder Gary Boom
BI is a business for people who are passionate about fine wine. It is a labour of love and the people I know do it because they are positively obsessed with the product. There is still an air of romance to the whole thing, thank God...
I first became a wine enthusiast and collector when I worked in the City in the 1980s; I was working with Michael Spencer on a project that became ICAP, and it was a magnum of Latour 1970 shared with Michael and his father that really opened my eyes. (As it happens Michael remained a close friend and is now chairman of BI.)
However buying and collecting wine wasn’t that straightforward for a newcomer. Even if you had money to spend, the service was inconsistent at best and pricing was opaque – it felt designed to keep people out rather than encourage people to come in. It was this combination of negative factors that inspired me to set up Bordeaux Index in 1997. I was certain there was a role for someone in this market who welcomed new customers more openly, looked after them better, gave them a truly innovative service – and most of all, didn't charge as much!
Today we are the world’s only truly global 24-hour fine wine merchant with offices in London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Los Angeles. Our core values are central to our belief system: they define the way we behave collectively and individually, towards our colleagues, customers and suppliers. We have built our reputation through honesty, openness and simplicity, and we approach life and work with a straightforward, ‘can-do’ attitude.
We are passionate about our product and want to share our excitement by spreading the word about fine wine in a way that everyone understands, whether they be regular international collectors looking for a serious investment or a new found friend.
The switch from Bordeaux Index to BI in late 2015 really tells the story of our success. When we began trading, we focused almost exclusively on Bordeaux. However, with alternative regions and categories such as Burgundy, Italy, Champagne, California, Spain and Spirits all growing in global significance – not to mention providing us, and hopefully you, with some of the most eye-opening drinking experiences we have ever had – it felt appropriate to make clear the direction in which we are heading.
Above all this is a business for the long term. We pride ourselves on the relationships we build and we believe in dedicating ourselves to ensuring long term mutually beneficial partnerships with our employees, customers and suppliers.
Gary Boom, MD and founder of BI Wines & Spirits