Wine Talk

Snooth User: wineybeach

How do you sell a bottle of wine privately?

Posted by wineybeach, Oct 19, 2009.

Hey...I'm new here...just found you all. I have a magnum bottle of wine from 1959 that I've been asked to sell. I went to Christies...and tried a couple of other wine sites. But they thought I had a case of it...not just a bottle. Any suggestions where I could go to see if I can sell this bottle of wine?

Thanks...

Wineybeach

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Replies

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Reply by Matteus, Oct 19, 2009.

Hi
Just out of pure curiosity, may a ask, what wine it is?

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 19, 2009.

What the wine is is obviously crucial. Also, how has the wine been stored, all the way back to when it left the winery? And what's the condition of the bottle (label, cap, level of the wine in the bottle, etc.)?

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Reply by wineybeach, Oct 19, 2009.

I know it wasn't stored "properly"...I have pictures on my system at home. All of the lables are still on, and in decent shape, just a little yellow. It's a Magnum bottle of 1959, Chateau Haut Brion Premier Grand Cru...I know it COULD have been a very valuable bottle of wine...but I'm not too sure about the integrity of the wine itself. That being said...I don't want it...she doesn't want it...and we thought maybe if I could help her sell it it would help her out. Also I know that 1959 was supposedly considered the vintage of the century.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 19, 2009.

I've had both the '59 and '61 Haut Brions, and they are lovely, lovely wines. Though the '61 is generally considered more highly, the '59 was also an excellent year. If stored in good condition it would be worth considerable money.

That being said, the poor storage knocks everything into a cocked hat. What do you know of how the current owner got the bottle, and how it has been stored since? What is the level of wine in the bottle (on the neck, shoulder, wherever)? And if you hold the bottle upright and very gently give the cap a twist, does it spin?

If the condition is poor, it becomes mostly a curiosity worth only a very small fraction of what it would have been worth in good condition. A restaurant or liquor store might chose to display the bottle, but it would not really be worth drinking, other than as an educational warning regarding what poor storage does to a potentially excellent wine...

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Reply by Hexley, Oct 19, 2009.

You could try eBay, but as dmcker said, provenance is everything with older wine. If it wasn't stored properly, it may not fetch as much as it could. Depending on the overall condition, it may be more of a novelty at this point.

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Reply by wineybeach, Oct 19, 2009.

This is what I do know. The woman that brought it to me said that her mother had it...when she died, she found it in the bottom of a closet (dark mostly cool)...and no one knew what it really was. Her mom got it from the people that she was a nanny for...as a christmas present...she didn't drink...the daughter kept it in her "cellar"...yes...a real cellar...and kind of forgot about it..it wasn't climate controlled. She was moving and found it...and brought it to me. I've kept it "refridgerated" for the most part ever since...the wine is on the shoulder...high shoulder...the cap is tight...the cork is positioned properly...there is a little setiment...that's about it.

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Reply by Hexley, Oct 19, 2009.

I personally am unaware of any dedicated wine auction sites that don't have a minimum lot value or bottle/case quantity for sellers. Sellers with cellars...ok, I'll stop.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 20, 2009.

Wineybeach, there are too many iffy aspects of the provenance story for any knowledgeable winebuyer to be confident enough to pay real money. Do you even know if it was stored standing, or on its side?

You could try eBay, which is not ordinarily the best place to buy or sell wine, but may work in this instance. Don't expect great prices there, I would think, but you might be able to get a lump of cash. You could also just pitch it to whomever strikes your fancy in your range of acquaintances, but that will likely be a long, possibly frustrating process.

The best bet may be to figure who would most warrant and appreciate being gifted the wine, and earn brownie points that way, rather than hope for lots of dollars for the bottle. Considering the vagaries of the bottle's condition, it has more symbolic than real value...

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Reply by cigarman168, Oct 20, 2009.

Just curiosity, It is very seldom for one just keep one bottle of wine? That comes again my conclusion that to buy and sell Wines, the sources is crucial.

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Reply by Greg Roberts, Oct 20, 2009.

I would checkout Vinfolio.com. They recently launched a service for individuals to sell and buy wines called the Vinfolio Marketplace.

You could also post it on the erobertparker.com bulletin board on the "Commerce Corner" corner thread.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 20, 2009.

Excellent suggestions, GregR. The new Vinfolio 'Sell Wine' feature looks potentially useful for many people, though costs will obviously be proportionately higher for single bottles or other very small lots.

In the current instance, wineybeach, you should pay particular attention to Vinfolio's inspection guidings, explaining why they may reject certain bottles for sale:
http://www.vinfolio.com/customerSer...

Since I'm not an erobertparker.com subscriber, I couldn't take a look at the 'Commerce Corner.'

In all events, wineybeach, you should be upfront about bottle condition and provenance when you attempt to make a sale. That will prevent problems further down the line.

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 20, 2009.

And then there is winecommune. Do you have a picture of the bottle that you can share?

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Reply by fibo86, Oct 20, 2009.

@wineybeach if you go to ebay be careful as it is illegal to sell alcohol on the site unless you have the proper licence, a friend was trying to sell her Grange on ebay, lucky for her she'd sold it before they cancelled her trade and sent a warning email.

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Reply by Hexley, Oct 20, 2009.

My apologies, thanks for catching that flbo86. I knew you could sell alcohol on eBay if it was "collectable" and I assumed wine fit into that category. Evidently not:

The sale of alcohol-related memorabilia is permitted, including packaging and unopened bottles, decanters, or limited edition cans that still contain alcohol.
Bottles of wine are not allowed, as their value is generally based on the wine in the bottle rather than the bottle itself.
http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies...

Sorry about that!

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Reply by D9sus4, Oct 20, 2009.

Hexley, And just an FYI for the rest of you, ebay does Not allow the selling of wine, even if you consider it a "collectible", without a special wine license. I know this for a fact because I had two listings for 1986 and 1987 Marilyn Merlots cancelled on me by ebay. And as anyone with half a taste bud knows, these are not wines you buy to drink. The bottles would have to be empty in order to sell them on ebay.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 21, 2009.

Greg, have you used winecommune yourself? Wineybeach, here's the page to start there:
http://www.winecommune.com/help/sel...

There are eBay alternatives in Japan where a bit of wine and other forms of alcohol are traded, but it's very much caveat emptor, buyer beware...

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 21, 2009.

I have bought and sold a few bottles through wine commune. I know the clamped down an prolific sellers but my understanding was that they let the occasional seller slide.

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Reply by fibo86, Oct 21, 2009.

I'm not too sure if there are auctioneers from this company over there however http://www.langtons.com.au or http://www.graysonline.com.au Australian, http://www.auctionvine.com US, http://www.internetwineguide.com and a bit of everything.
I haven't tried the last two or know much about them.
Langtons belongs to a chain here in Aus
Grays is independent in Aus
Auctionvine is US
Internetwineguide has a mis mash of auction houses and places to purchase wine.
Try all and see what suits.

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Reply by wineybeach, Oct 29, 2009.

Hey...sorry I haven't responded to anyone recently...Life got in the way.

Thanks for all of the suggestions...I do know that it WAS stored on it's side the whole time. I could tell because there was a bit of settlement in the neck when she brought it to me...and she brought it to me on it's side. I've also kept it on it's side.

She only had the one bottle because it had been a gift to her mother from her mothers employer in the early sixties. When her mom died, she took that bottle from a collection of a few that her employer (an apparently wealthy person in the area) had given to her.

I'll look into some of the other sites that you've mentioned.

Thanks!!!!

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