Meininger’s Wine Business International interviews James Miles

On Saturday, Wine Business International – Meininger’s wine trade magazine – published an interview with Liv-ex MD and co-founder James Miles. In the interview, Miles discusses the history of Liv-ex, the impact of technology and the company’s future plans.

When asked why Liv-ex succeeded when others failed, Miles says that Liv-ex chose not to deal with producers or consumers, and so rather than competing with its merchant members it instead built services around their needs. Having started with only eleven members based in London, Liv-ex now has over 420 international members.

Miles largely attributes this rapid growth to technology, which he calls “an absolutely huge investment”. With “five teams here, in India and Bulgaria […] and 40 people building technology”, he says that Liv-ex is increasingly “a web services platform where customers can place orders from within their own system and take data or settle a deal, release stocks or order photographs – all from within their environment.”

Miles further recognises the importance of Liv-ex data, which now accounts for 30% of the business’ turnover. He explains that “we spend a lot of time cleaning lists, taking out loose data and putting it into a standard format. And we’ve introduced Wine Matcher software which is a semi-intelligent system. Once you clean the list, it will remember the next time what to do. The more lists that get cleaned, the more intelligent it becomes.”

Miles admits that he is “most excited about LWIN, our universal identifier [which] allows people identify the Lafite Rothschild from the Carruades Lafite” and is “free for everyone to use”. He sees LWIN as an extremely important tool because it drives efficiencies not only “in the supply chain” but “anywhere where people want to share data with each other”.

On Liv-ex’s future plans, Miles reveals: “We’re doubling our sales team and are going to invest an enormous amount in marketing and technology.” He concludes: “We’re working really hard – investing absolutely all our profits – to try and make it a bigger business.”

You can read the full interview on Wine Business International here.

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