Cellar Management

Forgive Me Bacchus For I Have Sold Some Wine

wine corks

Many fellow collectors express shock when I tell them I have sold some of my wine before: “I would never sell my wine!”

This reaction always puzzles me. Most people have no problem selling stocks, personal belongings, cars, etc. Why would selling wine be any different?

My sales have been for two reasons although I can think of several other situations where I would part with some bottles:

  1. The wine I am selling is a type of wine I have lost interest in or simply no longer drink anymore.  For example, shortly after getting married I realized my wife did not care for German and Austrian Rieslings (bless her heart), yet I had more than six cases taking up precious space in the wine cellar. I would periodically open a bottle myself but eventually realized I would likely never drink it all. Up for sale it went and the proceeds were used for varietals that we both enjoy.
  2. A wine has just become too expensive. I bought ’04 Lafite upon release for $150.  Several years later I was offered $750 for this wine. ’04 Lafite may be great, but in my opinion, it never was and never will be worth $750. I took the $750 and bought three bottles each of ’08 Cos d’Estournel and ’08 Ducru Beaucaillou.  I’m certain I will get more pleasure out of those six bottles than I would have out of the single of ’04 Lafite.

Under what circumstances have or would you sell some of your wine?

4 thoughts on “Forgive Me Bacchus For I Have Sold Some Wine

  1. I’ve sold wine several times for both reasons you list above. Additionally, where I’ve purchased wines based solely on a critic’s wine score/description and then after trying the wine realized I did not like it, I sold the wine. Lastly, I’ve sold wine when I thought I would not be able to drink all of it before it went over-the-hill.

    Alternatively, I can understand a person becoming attached to a particular wine they’ve held for many years and might not be able to find again at an affordable price. If a person has never tried that wine and wishes to do so at least once, I can appreciate instances in which he/she would refuse to sell, at even a high price.

  2. Ah, I too have some 04 Lafite but can’t let go of it because 04 is the birth year of one of my children and I’m holding for a special occasion. But to think how much great wine I could have purchased with the sale of just a couple of bottles!

    I’d consider selling for all the reasons that you and Peter mention, although I have never purchased wine with the intention that it be an investment. That’s fine if that’s what people choose to do, but I purchase wine with the intention to consume and enjoy it.

    Tom – I feel your pain with the Riesling. My wife really doesn’t enjoy whites aside from Chardonnay. But I’m stubborn. I haven’t accumulated several cases but still can’t avoid buying some Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and dessert whites. I pop them out on any occasion that we have others at the house who may enjoy.

    Out of curiosity, through what means have you and Peter sold wine? Were you happy with the process and return?

  3. Mike, I agree and do not purchase wine as an investment either. When I have sold wine though I primarily do so through a wine board like Wine Berserkers or Wine Spectator. I have also sold via Vinfolio and directly to brokers who specialize in the resale of rare wines.

  4. Mike and Tom:

    Wine has grown in such popularity that, for the most part, it has become an investment by default. I’ve always bought wine with the intention of consuming and enjoying. I’ve never bought wine as an investment but, at the same time, I really like getting a free option. That is, because there is a fairly liquid market for wine individuals can always get most of their money back, or even make a profit, on bottles they decide they no longer want. I’ve sold wine on Wine Commune several times because I lost interest in a particular wine or vintage. I’ve made a profit about 90% of the time. I didn’t sell for the purpose of making money. It just turned out that way.

    Regarding Riesling, I enjoy this wine very much. Riesling pairs perfectly with Thai food! And I mean perfectly! German Riesling has a tendency to be sweet and this turns many people off. Alternatively, Alsace is dry and many people prefer this style over the German style. You might want to give Alsace a chance to show how wonderful Riesling really can be.

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