One of the most active sectors of the antiques and collectibles market is wine. Recently, wine has become extremely popular with collectors.
After the 2008 wine market slump, in the wake of the financial crisis and the revealing counterfeit operation of a major wine collector, today’s wine market is active and exciting. Antique and vintage wine sales are booming and records are regularly set by enthusiastic collectors, including millennials, who love wine tastings, wine touring and wine pairings.
Here is some proof that is in the vineyard rather than the pudding, so to speak. In 2017, the worldwide wine market reached $80 million in auction sales and that doesn’t count wine dealer sales. Many agree with Bacchus’ view on wines — it is the nectar of the Gods. And it isn’t a bad investment when it comes to collectibles either.
You must need to get your wines authenticated just as you would any other valuable asset. Authentication is key just as it is with any work of art or antique piece. There are established wine dealers and there are also some folks who are trying to tell you something is good when it is bad. There have been reports of sellers switching wine bottle labels, forging or faking blends, etc. So, when it comes to antique and vintage wines for the new wine collector, how do you tell the good from the bad?
1. Establish the provenance
As with any valuable collectible, provenance or the history or lineage of an object or collectible is very important to establishing value and background. So, look for wine auctions that offer original sales receipts for the wines that they are selling. Documentary images or period photographs that can help you identify and document the lineage, background or provenance of a particular bottle of wine are very helpful in identifying a wine’s history and background. This is most important.
2. Select single owner bottles
Unlike the art market where a painting that has been part of more than one high-profile or prestigious collection is a very good thing, that isn’t the case when it comes to wines. In fact, when it comes to wines, collectors prefer a bottle of wine or a collection of wines from a single owner. That’s right, just one owner is seen as better. Why? These wine bottles were probably housed, or dare I say resting, in a single wine cellar instead of traded here and there upsetting the delicate balance of the wine within the bottle. Of course, such movement can greatly impact a wine’s condition, taste, and value. So, one owner is desirable.
3. Don’t drink at the auction
You’d think this would be common sense but this has become quite a problem at the trendy wine auction held in places like New York and Bordeaux. You heard me, don’t drink the wine just yet. At least don’t drink it during the wine auction. I know, it sounds crazy but you don’t want to drink yourself into a bidding war. The results from Sotheby’s, Zachys, Acker’s and other well-known wine auctions continue to be sky high for various wines from all over the world. The main reason for this is because more often than not, auction bidders are enjoying the wine in each auction lot so much that they bid up the lots to the point where they are paying as much as double the high estimate for a good bottle of wine.
Like anything else you are collecting, investigate the wines you are interested in collecting and research the integrity of the sellers. Do your research to get the best deal. This new and active collecting category of wine promises to make collectors feel warm inside.