Concentrating on the best vintages of the best winemakers in this world as well as keeping strict risk management has been the key to The Klaus Umek Collection. Provenance, purchase date and the chain of ownership are documented meticulously. Wine collecting is a principally cultural, intellectual and commercial affair. To Klaus it serves as an extension of his language skills, his interest in culture, history, the history of European Christianity and as a training ground and application of his intercultural, people and commercial skills. After all, it is about buying well and potentially selling high.
Klaus started to participate actively in the London wine market when he moved back to the city in 2007. His frequent trips to France meant direct access to the best material as well as the development of personal acquaintances and friendships with key players among the world’s top winemakers.
Over the more than ten years of collecting, Klaus has kept his clear vision of collecting only the best wines from the best estates and from the best vintages. This includes sole and exclusive attention and focus on the world´s best winemakers such as Louis-Michel of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, Romanee Conti, Rousseau, Roumier, Domaine Leroy, Coche-Dury, Leflaive, Dujac, Arnaud Ente, D´Auvenay, Roulot, PYCM, Niellon, Boisson-Vadot and Sauzet in Burgundy (some 70% of value of his collection) as well as in substance only Chateaux Petrus, Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Le Pin and Lafleur in Bordeaux (some 20% of value). The remainder of Klaus´ Collection is mainly invested in Italy´s (Voerzio, Giacosa, Conterno, Masseto) and America´s (Screaming Eagle, Sine Qua Non, Abreu and Harlan Estate) rarest wines as well as, to a lesser degree, in Grange in Australia and in Pingus and Vega Sicilia in Spain. The collection is managed professionally from London by two employees. In addition, and next to the KUC, Klaus maintains large cellars of Grand Cru Bordeaux, Burgundy´s new talents and 1er Cru and Village of the Burgundian world starts, Barolo, Super Tuscan, German Riesling, Champagne and Austrian red and white premium wines in the clubs where he maintains membership, in his offices in London, Jersey and BA and in his private residences. Born in Vienna, Klaus is proud of the viticultural quality his hometown produces and will frequently open Vienna whites and the occasional top red for his guests.
The Collection itself is compiled with careful attention to detail and risk management. There are few vintages before 1980 and the majority of the collection is from 2000 onwards. Klaus believes in trophy wines, but feels the risk of forgery increases exponentially with bottle age and when one does not buy En Primeur. Buying is done through the most reputable merchants in London, the United States, Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland, and always with the assurance of perfect storage, transport, provenance. The Klaus Umek Collection is stored exclusively at Octavian Vaults in Corsham, UK. Much of the collection has been accumulated through direct allocations and, when possible, estate mailing lists. The exception to direct dealings is careful purchasing from the most reputable auction houses. With the help of Charles Curtis, MW, the collection was checked for authenticity in 2015 and since then various checks have been conducted by wine trade professionals as the collection grows.