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An open letter to our members – July 2020

Dear Liv-ex member,

I hope you and your team are keeping well. As we approach the peak of the summer months, I am writing to share an update on recent and upcoming developments at Liv-ex.

Since I last compiled an update in December, the world has changed considerably. The global health crisis has presented a number of challenges for businesses including ours, as well as opportunities. Like many of you, we shifted to a work-from-home model almost overnight for office staff, and introduced social distancing and safety measures for our warehouse team. Our goal has been to continue to offer the same level of service to you while keeping our team safe.

With the UK due to leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union at the end of the year, we have been campaigning hard with members of the UK trade to ensure that we do so on the best possible terms. I recently gave evidence at a government-led inquiry about the likely impact of rolling over highly protectionist EU regulations on wine imports (known as the VI-1 form) into UK law. We will know more about the outcome of this in October time. Please be reassured that Liv-ex has contingency plans in place should the government’s current plans go ahead. Nonetheless, if you haven’t already done so, I would encourage all UK members to write to your MP. You will find a template from the WSTA here.

Our team has meanwhile been busy working on initiatives to help you price, source and sell wine more efficiently. We continue to produce market news and analysis on our blog, in extended reports, and via webinar, which we are increasingly sharing with Liv-ex members and selected press only. Thanks partly to your responses to a recent survey, where you broadly supported this move, we will be soon making more of our content exclusively available to you.

In March, we released significant improvements to LWIN intended to improve the flow of information around the wine trade, ultimately saving time and reducing risk for all involved. This includes a comprehensive database of wine information, which is free to access. We encourage you to share LWIN with your business customers and suppliers. The more widely used it is, the greater positive impact for all of us.

With more shoppers heading online, we’ve seen increased activity via trading automation in recently months. Likewise, the team is busy supporting many new users who are adopting this technology. We also released automation for Critic Reviews. This new API enables you to bring scores and notes into your system and website automatically. This is currently available for Vinous reviews, with additional publications aiming to start contributing this year. We are also working on making ABV and commodity codes available via API.

For our members in the US, we are pleased to offer trading and invoicing in USD. A member of our Account Management team will also be relocating to New York in the Autumn to better align time zones.

Various improvements to our new website have been quietly launched already this year, including a better search. From later this week, you’ll have access to a new feature enabling you to upload photos directly. We are continuing to add to it; thank you to everyone who has submitted feedback or participated in a research session with us. We are also in the process of implementing a better system of alerting you to opportunities on the marketplace via email.

This month represents our 20th year as the fine wine marketplace. While our celebrations will have to wait, we nonetheless feel optimistic about the future and are grateful for your continued support.

Best wishes,

James Miles