Luxury is far simpler than what we once thought it was

by Feb 12, 2021Thinking outside the bottle0 comments

Simplicity might just be what brings luxury to our lives (photo, Helena Lopes/StockSnap)

Simplicity might just be what brings luxury to our lives (photo, Helena Lopes/StockSnap)

Paulo Pinto

Alti Wine Exchange founding member

Dear reader,

I truly believed that luxury meant a symbol of rare, expensive, exclusive – just like the fine and rare wines offered by Alti Wine Exchange.

But the world has changed during these last 12 months, and I now realize that luxury is a symbol of something far simpler – like being able to go outside, breathe fresh air without a mask, meet family and friends, to be able to socialize with others.

What a luxury to be able to see people smiling with no masks, to hug a loved one or kiss a family member without violating rules.

Will we be able to return to our luxury of living well and free with the vaccine? I am still not convinced, even if much of the damage from this virus has already been done.

Debt has reached such high levels and so many businesses have closed that any return to normal is unlikely. Those who have been following our blog know that our interest is discussing money and the economy while drinking wine. So let’s dive into the topic.

Reacting to a call by more than a hundred economists, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde rejected canceling debts run up by eurozone members saying “it would be a violation of the European treaty which strictly forbids monetary financing of states”.

The interesting thing is, the ECB balance sheet is 61% of GDP – because it has been monetary financing European countries.

How much more central money will be printed? Will ECB reach 126% of GDP like in Japan?

In the view of the attitude politicians have towards debt, it looks possible. At zero percent interest rates, politicians are seduced into borrowing to infinity.

That is why we keep our eyes firmly on inflation.

What we saw in the Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices (HICP) of the Euro area in January confirms what we have been saying. All of the big four countries surprised to the upside. The most impressive rise came from Germany, where inflation rose to 1.6% y-o-y from 0.7% – but, overall, Euro area inflation in January rose to 0.9% from minus 0.3%.

We have been wondering about the need to prepare for a future with inflation and currency devaluation.


We talk about money… over wine. And that is how we came to fine and rare wine.

We have been amazed for the past ten years by this money creation and little effect on inflation, but we know from experience that, when it comes to inflation, we have to prepare in advance, otherwise it will be too late.

In the meantime, the global economy is slowing, but the negative interest policy is helping to inflate assets – and, this January, also the Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices.

Negative rates suggest that the value of money is less than nothing, and if that is so, the value of fine and rare wine is a shield to what money buys.


Luxury, one could argue, could be found over much more ordinary aspects of our economic and our social lives…

Until next time,


More articles by Paulo Pinto


Explore More from Our Blog

“Should I open my 1913 Spanish Bottle of wine?”

DEAR READER, Thank you for the warm wishes following my initial post; it brings a tear to my eye. As a wine expert, I’m honored to inspire the next generation of drinkers, growers, and lovers (of wine, I mean!). This week, I’ve selected a question that’ll give us some...

A Mailbag Column from an Eccentric Sommelier

DEAR READER: As I’ve aged, it helps me to reach out to the youth. Everyone I speak to has to be 18+ (since I deal in wine), but reaching out makes me feel like I’m giving back to the Earth—giving it more energy to spin once I’m gone. At least for now, before I get too...

Songs about wine to listen now (and our playlist for you!)

Dear reader, Wine goes well with basically anything. Music, for example, always lightens up the mood alongside a glass. It can be that you want to listen to jazz, rock, blues, pop or other music genres and styles while having a sip. It pairs so smoothly. But have you...

It’s never too late to look back and learn from the past

Paulo Pinto Alti Wine Exchange founding member Dear reader, In life, just like in the financial world I’m often mulling over, one has to reflect on what brings value to them. For this article, I have been wondering about how nothing is certain and how there are only...

Could Bordeaux wine producers save the city’s frail top tier football club?

Dear reader and wine lover, What would you do if your favourite sports club were on the verge of collapse? And what if you could use your professional contacts to save it for good? Billionaire François Pinault, France’s third-richest man – also founder of luxury group...

Summer is coming – and things really do not look promising

Paulo Pinto Alti Wine Exchange founding member   Dear reader, I must be honest. I am in a bad mood because of something I just read: this economic contraction we are in is four times worse than the one in 2008. Western living standards are getting squeezed...

A trip to Italy and its wines: a video series by Julien Miquel

  Our Chief Wine Officer Julien Miquel is always embarking on different journeys to explore what’s best and finest in different French wine regions. From Bordeaux to Burgundy to Champagne to Italy to others, he gifts us with videos and articles about what makes...

Five useful apps for wine lovers anywhere in the world

Dear reader, wine lover, No matter where you are in the world, nowadays there are great apps for wine enthusiasts like you and the rest of us. After all, as the world is ever more connected, it is becoming increasingly easier to find options right in your phone to:...

What’s ahead for French wine 2021 vintages after the frosts?

Many wine lovers have seen the recent pictures and footage of the aggressive April frosts in most French regions – from Burgundy to Bordeaux to Champagne to Rhône to Languedoc to Alsace to Provence. For many producers, the worst spring frosts in decades led to nearly...

The Lafite Spirit: our Wine Club offers from Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite)

From Lafite Rothschild to its new ventures through time, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) is always seeking new frontiers - from Bordeaux to South America to China Alti Wine Exchange offers investors and customers the finest investment-grade wines sourced...

Investing in fine wine remotely in times of Covid, tariffs and stuck cargo ships

A beautifully crafted case with bottles of Opus One, the Mondavi-Rothschild masterpiece wine we offered in 2020 Dear reader, The recent unbelievable blockage of the Suez Canal by the cargo ship Ever Given has led not only to endless memes and jokes on the internet,...

Building wealth wisely, change is both need and opportunity

Paulo Pinto Alti Wine Exchange founding member Dear reader, Every 24th day of the month I sit down figuring out what I spent. It’s an exercise that I do every month because I want to see how much I spend to live. There are two reasons for me to do that. One is my own...