Wine, just like stamps, art and jewellery, have well documented histories, vintages, and values which in turn make them great collectables. There are a number of reasons as to why certain wines command higher values than others. These include; the wines provenance, storage history, vintage and brand name. To ensure maximum profit, Value My Stuff founder Patrick Van der Vorst, takes you through each of these factors and shows you how to start and develop a fine wine collection of your own.
1. It’s all in the name
If you’re buying wine as an investment and willing to resell at some stage, concentrate on the big names, as due to their quality and rarity, this is what collectors are looking for. There are many top brands on the wine market that are worth investing in at the moment. These include Romanée-Conti, Château Margaux, Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Lafite, Cheval Blanc and Château d’Yquem.
2. How to spot a fake
Beware; there are a growing number of fake wines on the market which can sometimes be reputedly difficult to spot. However there are a few signs you can look out for to ensure that you do not fall victim to fraud:
- Be wary of any wines that are of a famous vintage as these are more likely to be copied.
- Always compare the label and capsule to those of a known genuine bottle.
- Always check the wines provenance and be very wary if there is a lack of information on this.
- Check to see if the label is crooked.
Although these tips can be useful we do advise that you always seek advice from a professional if you are worried about a wines authenticity.
3. Storing your wine
You need to be extremely careful when storing your wine as, not only can the quality of storage affect the value of your wine but improper storage can also result in your wine being ruined. This is also an important factor when looking to resell your wine as potential buyers will often ask about your storage conditions and some auction houses will even be reluctant to sell any wines with an uncertain storage history.
The perfect conditions for storing wine are as follows:
- A constant temperature of between 10-14 degrees.
- A slightly damp atmosphere.
- A healthy environment with no mould.
- A dark room which is protected from light.
It is crucial to the value of your investment to ensure you know the quality and provenance of the wine you are buying. This includes the wine’s origin and the confirmation that it has been stored in an appropriate environment. When purchasing a new wine it is always advised to ask the seller for this information in addition to a copy of their purchase invoices, if they have them, so you can validate this information.
5. Understanding Vintage
A wine’s vintage refers to the year in which a particular wine’s grapes were harvested. However, it is important to note that some vintages are better than others. This is because wine can be dramatically different from year to year depending on a variety of factors such as weather conditions and harvesting time. It is wise to check out the vintage charts available from the sources below which can give you a good idea of the quality of a specific vintage before purchasing a wine.
- Robert Parker through the publication The Wine Advocate, established in 1978.
- La Revue du Vin de France - A monthly French wine publication dating back to 1927.
- Gault & Millau – An Influential French guide to wines and hotels in France.
6. How to asses a wines condition
When both buying and selling wine there are a number of factors to look out for to ensure you are making the most out of your investment. These are as follows:
- The Casing: Wines coming with their original wooden case are the most desirable.
- Check the label: Capsules and corks have to be in mint condition (condition of label is paramount, unless the provenance is impeccable and soiled labels will not detract from the items' value)
- Wine Level: This should be into the bottle neck
7. Collecting wine as an investment
Only a very small portion of the wine produced worldwide can be considered for investment. The market has shown a significant increase over the past few years, with China fuelling its expansion.
Unexpectedly, Hong Kong has become one of the most significant places for wine auctions in the world, overtaking London and New York. One regularly hears about the new record prices established out there.
Bordeaux is the most popular choice among Chinese and Asian buyers, but Burgundy wines encounter success too. In November 2010, Christie’s sold 12 bottles of La Tâche (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti), vintage 1990 for HK$936,000 (£76,000). The abolition of wine
duties in early 2008 by the city of Hong Kong was a key fact in encouraging the main auction houses to start organizing sales.
Value My Stuff is an online valuation service which enables customers to simply take photos of their items which they can then upload directly onto the site where, within just 48 hours, they will receive a valuation report from one of over 62 experts. Many of the experts are ex Sotheby’s, Christie’s or Bonhams and cover every area from aboriginal art and ceramics through to sport, music and film memorabilia, stamps, coins, toys and more. Prices start from £10.00 per item valued.