Wine Talk

Snooth User: winegalcolorado

Wine valuations and re-selling wine

Posted by winegalcolorado, Dec 30, 2014.

I inherited a wine collection and now I'm seeking ways to determine value and marketability. I'm reaching out to the Snooth community for some insights on these questions:

  • How would I go about getting a valuation/appraisal of the wine collection? Willing to pay for the right expertise. I am in the process of compiling an inventory but I cannot locate estimated values for everything in the collection.
  • Wine has not been professional cellared but stored on its side in a cool, dark basement. If a value is determined, would lack of professional storage eliminate potential buyers?
  • I know this is probably too general but how old is too old for a California Cabernet? I have a number of 1993 bottles.
  • I also have a number of 2000 & 2001 Bordeauxs but I believe these should still be stable and drinkable. Is that right?
  • What is the market for resale? How would I go about selling this collection? I simply have too much to enjoy personally or even share.

Thank you in advance!

Replies

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Reply by outthere, Dec 30, 2014.
Contact:
 
  1. Heritage Auctions
  2. Hart Davis Hart
  3. Benchmark Wine Group
  4. me, I share real well! ;)
 

 

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Reply by winegalcolorado, Dec 30, 2014.

Wow! Thank you! What great resources! Cheers!

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Reply by dvogler, Dec 30, 2014.

Wine Gal,

Which California cabs do you have?

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 30, 2014.

Show us a list here of some or even all of the wines in the collection, including not only wine name and vintage, but brief descriptions of the label condition, level of the wine at the top of the bottle, and number of bottles of the same wine, and we can give more reliable help. I've bought and sold collector cellars on multiple occasions.

Besides the auction-ish houses OT mentions, other resources will be Christie's and Sotheby's that are originally from London but also active in the States. Wally's in L.A. is active and reliable. BPWine, located like Benchmark in Napa, is also good. Local restaurants and wine merchants will be more interested when you have multiples of the same blottle.

The easiest way to deal with unloading your wines will be to offload them to such a middleman as OT and I mention, assuming they are interested. That will not be the most profitable, however. Direct sales to collectors give you a better price. Even sales to local merchants and restaurants should get you a better deal. However your description of storage conditions, and a likely unknown provenance for the wines, will impact saleability and price. Total no. of bottles you can offer will, too. As will, of course, the actual wine names and their vintages. The bottle ages you mention briefly should not be a problem, at all, in and of themselves.

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Reply by GregT, Dec 31, 2014.

What D said above. "Bordeaux" can mean any number of wines, some worth a lot, some not worth much at all. I'm assuming you don't have wines costing hundreds of dollars a bottle, but that may be wrong.

And you'd get more if you sold them yourself as opposed to selling through an auction house.

You will have 2 problems though. First, nobody knows you. So if you just show up somewhere, with no history, as an unknown individual, and ask someone to fork over big bucks, they're going to want to know a lot more about you and about the wine.

Second thing is that your storage may or may not have been perfect, but nobody knows. If it gets pretty hot in the summer, your wines were in what people will consider less than optimum conditions. On the resale market, temp controlled storage wins out over passive storage every time.

Third problem is that you don't say, and perhaps don't know where the wine was purchased or when. If it was purchased directly from a winery, or from a retailer on release, that's one thing. If it was purchased on the secondary market, at an auction or from someone like you who sold off some of their collection, it's not going to be as desirable.

You may still do OK, but I wouldn't go in expecting to receive the highest possible price.

And then there's collectability. Bordeaux from 2000 should be fine, but depending on the wine, either peaking or just coming into it's drinking window. It was not only the millennial vintage, it was a great vintage. But 2001 was very much the opposite.

For CA, it really depends on the wine. For some of the age-worthy wines, 1993 is not too long at all. But for other wines, that's not the case. And 1993 in Napa wasn't the most stellar vintage either. 1991, 1992, 1994 are considered very good vintages. But those are just generalizations - it really depends on the specific wine.

And finally, there's the rating. Like it or not, if a wine had a good score from Parker, it's going to be worth a lot more than a wine with a lesser score. That's just the way that market is.

Good luck.

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Reply by vin0vin0, Dec 31, 2014.

Looks like the folks above have covered everything, would be interesting to see a list.

Hope those wines didn't come to you in a French Laundry doggie bag ;)

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Reply by outthere, Dec 31, 2014.

Great segue vinO!

if provenance turns out to be an issue contact WineBid. They list everything as having come from a professional storage facility.

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Reply by GregT, Dec 31, 2014.

They list everything as having come from a professional storage facility.

Great advice!! Awesome.

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Reply by dvogler, Dec 31, 2014.

I'm not defending WineBid, however, I am guessing that they probably don't consign lots that have questionable provenance, which is why it seems that you see mostly professional storage etc.  I see often that it's from the original owner and was kept in temperature controlled conditions.  I don't think any place would buy questionable wine.  Maybe I'm being naïve?  I have only bought two bottles from WineBid (1994 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cab and 1994 Beringer Private Resever Cab) and they were great.  I wasn't happy with the fees and that I had to call after six weeks of waiting, only to find out they didn't process the order.

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 31, 2014.

"I don't think any place would buy questionable wine.  Maybe I'm being naïve?"

Asked and answered.

I do believe the original crafting of the phrase 'caveat emptor' was by a Roman importer dealing with Greek vino vendors...

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Reply by GregT, Jan 1, 2015.

Cold start to the new year!

DV - Bill Koch has spent millions of dollars suing various auction houses for selling BS wine. The houses really don't have any good way to know what they're getting and the more ambitious they are, the less likely they are to be certain. Michael Broadbent, former wine director at Christies, had no real idea what he was selling when he sold the fake bottles purportedly from Thomas Jefferson. The best purveyors deal with a group of people they know and in the best cases, they know where the person bought the wine in the first place. It's why I'm comfortable buying older wine at a place like Chambers Street - they generally know who they're dealing with.

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Reply by dvogler, Jan 1, 2015.

Greg,

I actually read about that last year.  That was counterfeit wine.  My point was more along the lines of WineBid in particular, that not ALL their listings say "from professionally stored facility".  I don't think they move the kind of stuff Koch got burned on.  But in general, of course I believe there are countless transactions involving bad wine.  Any time you buy a very old wine it's a gamble, just like getting married.

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Reply by GregT, Jan 1, 2015.

Ouch!

You're right - most people don't move those kinds of Jefferson wine. And I suspect that most wine is OK - I've purchased some at auction and it's been fine. OTOH, Rudy showed us that the "experts" have no way to determine whether or not something is bogus and anyone buying Burgundy for the next fifty years or so should be suspicious. And we know that the Chinese have counterfeited lots of wine, although that seems to be only sold locally, but one never knows. You walk down 14th Street in NYC and you find all kinds of fake items - watches, shoes, handbags, etc. Every so often there will be a bust but then business goes on as usual.

The problem with places like E-bay, WineBid, etc., is that they have no way of knowing where something came from. You may be very honest and tell the truth, so might OT and everyone on this thread. And that makes a perfect opportunity for someone to cheat - as long as most people are honest, the cheater can make out pretty well. When everyone cheats, there's no advantage.

So yeah, most stuff is probably OK. But there's a lot of wine that was under water, or under sewage after Katrina or Sandy, and during the blackout a few years ago there's a lot of wine that may have hit temps in the 90s and higher, and all that was professionally stored. Who knows where that's ending up?

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Reply by dvogler, Jan 1, 2015.

Good points Gregor.  You obviously missed the "wine stemware" thread.  I was breaking your balls and you never said anything.  :)

 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jan 2, 2015.

   "Buying very old wine is a gamble, like getting married..." Oh that is precious.  I'll drink to that.  Good thing I lucked out with my sweetie.

​On a side note, I tend to stay away from the much older vintages if I am buying wine.  You never know the entire history of that bottle.

​

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Reply by dvogler, Jan 2, 2015.

or that woman :)

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 2, 2015.

Well then you're missing out on a lot of good, even sublime, wine drinking experiences. In my personal experience buying old wine is nowhere near as bad as buying used cars, for example (used to help a friend during auctions to dealers in CA years ago, and that was truly educational). Just so long as you don't go for the class of wine that involves Jefferson originals, or the best years in the first 2/3 of the 20th century for first growths or DRC or Petrus or the like, and follow a number of proper practices, you'll encounter fine wine experiences that you didn't even know existed. And it cracks me up that in several cases, such as with the classified Bordeaux growths, you can get older bottles from excellent vintages for lower prices than recent releases from so-so vintages.


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