How much is your wine worth?

“How much is your wine worth?” A good question and the answer is usually less than you think it is! However, in some cases, you may have a sought-after brand made in one of the best years and it can be worth much more selling it than drinking it. How can you find out how much is your wine worth?

Wickman's LogoOne way to know is by studying research data bases, results of wine auctions and exchanges, and to put a great amount of time into this field of study. A simpler and more trustworthy way would be to review Wickman’s Fine Wine database of results. Wickman has been buying and selling wine for almost two decades and has achieved million of dollars in turnover for his customers. He has been tracking prices and actual sales results. I sold 500 bottles of wine through Wickman’s Fine Wines so far and have been pleased with the result.  However, I had to do a bit of a level set as in some cases I spent more to purchase the wines than I was able to get selling them. But Wickman helped me understand and set the optimal price point to move the wine quickly. I have moved far greater volume through Wickman’s than Langton’s or other wine auction houses or exchanges because Wickman’s knows how much your wine is worth!

Check out Wickman’s data base and also his post on how to get the most from selling wine and the factors that influence wine sales.

And check out my previous post on the various outlets to consider if you want to sell your wine. But to find out how much is your wine worth, Wickman’s post and sales statistics for the major brands is the quickest way to do so.

Steve Shipley, author Wine Sense, available now!
© 2015.  Steve Shipley. All rights reserved.
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Save all wine sales receipts – this week’s #SAZTIP

Most of us buy wine with the intent of consuming it.  We do not expect to sell wine off in the future.  I certainly did not plan on it, but then I found myself in a position where it made sense to sell off a lot of my wine.  There are many plausible reasons you may elect to sell off wine, including:

  • Your taste has changed and you like different styles now
  • Your health has changed
  • You find you have wine coming to end of life and will not be able to drink it in time
  • You may just want to free up cash and realize that wine sales is a good way to raise funds

Provenance_stampAnd if you do plan to sell wine, you will be glad that you saved all your wine sales receipts!  There are several good auction and exchange firms to handle your selling needs (one of the best is Wickman’s Fine Wine Auctions), but most of them (and the ones you want to be doing business with) require provenance.  Provenance is proof that the wine has been stored under optimal conditions throughout its life and has the very best chance of being cared for as well as any bottle can be.  And the best source of provenance is your wine sales receipts along with journal entries and time-stamped photos of you taken delivery of the wine and immediately putting the wine in proper storage.  But the most important thing is your wine sales receipts.  It proves you bought the wine directly from the winery or a major wine retailer with some certainty the wine has been looked after properly up to the time you took possession of it.  To further strengthen provenance, you should have records of when you build or secured your cellar, have photographs of it and the wine in the cellar and records of having placed the wine in the cellar.  But none of this matters if you have not saved your wine sales receipts!

And even if you are certain you will never sell off wine in the future, your wine sales receipts provide a record of what you paid for wine which is useful in terms of understanding wine values and how much to pay for wine in the future.  It does not take a lot of effort to save your wine sales receipts.  If you are uncertain if you will need them, throw them into a box and store them for potential future use.  At least you will have them if you require them later.


Steve Shipley, author Wine Sense, out early 2014. Published by InkIT Publishing
© 2014.  Steve Shipley.  All rights reserved.
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Twitter:  Steve Shipley @shipleyaust;   InkIT Publishing @inkitpub


Great success with Wickman’s Fine Wine Auction

As many of you know, I have been clearing wine out of my cellar.  Once I had inventoried the total amount I had, and also realized that my tastes had changed somewhat over the last decade, I realized I needed to get down to a more reasonable sized cellar.  Plus I made a commitment to myself that I could not buy any more wine until I I had cut the cellar in half or down even further.

This is really a bad time to sell wine, as there are far more sellers than buyers and prices are quite depressed.  I have been fortunate to sell about 1,500 bottles direct to friends who know I have done a good job buying quality wines in the past and storing them well.  For the first 600 bottles I sold, I was getting between 90% and 120% what I initially paid for the wines.  Yet, my friends were getting a good deal as (1) I usually secured the wines at a better price point than they could have, and (2) I put some age on the wines and these were now some special wines not available through normal retail, or only available at higher price tags at auction.

I then move an additional 900 bottles by offering a 25% discount on the wines and sold quite a lot over a one-month period.  With the discount, I was now getting between 70% and 95% the price I had originally paid.  I also sold about 50 bottles through the Wine-Ark Exchange (now run by Langton’s), and got about 90% what I paid and had to pay an additional 12.5% commission over that (as did the buyer).  And the wines on the Exchange did not sell fast at all.  I think I have cleared about 35% of the wines and have been doing this for eight months now.

I had been following Wickman’s Fine Wine Auction for 18 months and was impressed with how much stock he moved and how he achieved the best buy and price point for buyer and seller.  I worked with Mark to go through my inventory, and he gave me an appraisal of the likely Reserve prices he would establish and the range each bottle would likely sell for.  I then packaged up 400 bottles to send to him for his October auction.

Mark was also insistent about the provenance of the wine to ensure it has only been stored under the best conditions.  He asked me to take pictures of the how the wine was properly stored, and provide the history of where I bought and stored the wine.  For 95% of my wines, he gave me the second highest rating he has.  Had I worked harder, and pulled from my files the purchase records of the wines I bought direct from the cellar doors and their receipt in Wine-Ark (where I store all my wine), I expect I could have got the highest provenance rating he had for about 85% of my wine.

Mark then sent me a final listing of Reserve prices and while lower than I was hoping for some of the wine, it was clear that he knew the market far better than I did and how to move the most product in a tough market.  Therefore, I went with his recommendations (except in one case for two bottles which did not sell BTW!).

For the one-week auction, I was amazed at the results!  We sold 56% of the wine at an average price of $44 per bottle.  I had evaluated my stock overall at $50 per bottle and it is true that Wickman selected and was trying to move some of my more expensive wine, but overall this was still a great result.  And I sold almost $10,000 of wine in one week, which would have been far harder and taken more effort to sell doing it myself.  I was hoping to move between $2,500 – $4,000 worth and did far better than that.  And I still have the November auction to sell most of the rest.

I am definitely looking forward to the results of the November auction, and may also look at sending Wickman another 150 – 200 bottles for his auctions starting up again in 2013..  It is very tough selling wine in today’s market and receiving a good price for it, but Wickman understands the market extremely well and certainly knows how to move wine!  I had far better results than expected because I trusted in him and his knowledge of the market.

If you need to move some serious volume and have been having trouble with Langton’s, or other big-named players, then I suggest you give Wickman’s Fine Wine Auctions a call!

Who is the lucky b#st*rd who bought my 2005 Lindemans Limestone Ridge?

Who’s the lucky bastard who bought ALL my 2005 Lindemans Limestone Ridge?!?

I just opened a bottle and it is brilliant!  I remember the tasting and the great deal I got on this wine.  We had a magnificent afternoon several years ago in the Lindemans Still House.  Things were different at Lindemans then.  Aaron was serving us that day and he is driving a truck now.  Damien the heart and soul of Lindemans for a dozen years was pushed out by the ‘suits working the numbers’ from Treasury Wine Estates. (I could go on and on about how this will cost TWE hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars but will save that for another post!)

We were sampling and bought some great, great 2005 Lindemans St George and Limestone Ridge that day.  However, I have greatly over-bought wine since returning from Qatar, and once I inventoried it, I was shocked to find out how much wine I had and how much I spent.  I had close to 3,800 bottles of wine!  Frankly, looking back I am astounded at my stupidity in terms of continuing to collect so much wine.  Each purchase on its own was a good deal, but I bought too much at a time and too much to drink over time.  My pleasure had become my burden!

Therefore, I felt I needed to sell off a lot and get it back down to a ‘much more reasonable’ inventory of about 1,500 – 2,000 bottles.  I have sold off about 1,000 bottles so far, but still have about 1,000 more to go.  Since I had so much I wanted to clear, I priced it at a good price point and I decided not to reserve any bottles as ‘not available.’  I felt that I had so much great wine, that it was unlikely someone would buy all of one brand and vintage and even if they did, I had other comparable wines I could still really enjoy.  For example, if someone bought all of my 2004 Penfolds Bin 389 (a superb wine), then I still had my 2005 Lindemans Limestone Ridge.  But damn it!  Now I have neither! And seriously, I did not expect my 12 bottles of various vintages of Penfolds Grange from 1981 – 1996 to all sell since they were so expensive.  Boy, was I wrong and do I regret it now!.  I only have one bottle of the 1981 Grange left (which I have set in reserve for my later drinking pleasure) and one bottle of the 1996 Grange (a most magnificent year!) which is still for sale as it needs a number of years yet to mature, so I am not putting in my ‘reserve.’

I no longer have any of the 2000 Houghton Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which is one of the best Cab Savs of all time.  And I sold off my 2005 Limestone Ridge which I did not realize I would miss so much until I found an odd bottle in the apartment Vintec wine fridge and opened this evening.  Damn, is it good!  And I paid such a good price for it.  I feel like I have lost some close personal friends never to be spending time with them again, including the:

  • 1999 Penfolds St Henri
  • 1999 Lindemans Stevens Shiraz
  • 1981 and 1982 Penfolds Grange
  • 1987 Lindemans Pyrus
  • 2005 Houghton Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (mentioned above)
  • 2005 Lindemans Limestone Ridge (mentioned above)
  • 2006 Gabbiano Chianti
  • 2006 Penfolds RWT

Therefore, I have now set aside a ‘reserve’ of about 100 bottles that I must have moving forward and are not for sale.  I have lost many good friends (bottles of wine!) through the process, but in most cases also feel good that while my wines have been ‘cherry-picked,’ they often have gone to friends with good palates.  However, I have parted with some outstanding wines which I have had in the cellar for up to ten years and cared for and looked forward to drinking in the future.  My wife cried when I told here about selling off all of her favorite 1999 Lindeman Stevens Shiraz, but I was fortunate to find one lone bottle in the Vintec and one more at our place in the Hunter Valley which we can enjoy as special treats in the months ahead.

But drinking my last bottle of the 2005 Lindemans Limestone Ridge tonight makes me ask me once again the question, “Who is that lucky bastard that bought ALL of my 2005 Limestone Ridge?”

Selling Wine – it’s a tough market but still possible!

I have accumulated far too much wine over the last decade.  The pleasure of ‘securing’ some amount of great wine was alluring and I felt it difficult to pass on really good deals.  Especially after having been denied access to good wines, good choice, and good value when living in Qatar, I came back to Australia very excited (probably too excited!) and was presented with a plethora of great choices.

About six months ago, I had finally inventoried all of my wine and realized I had way, way too much!  I looked at several options for selling wine.  I looked at Langton’s as a method of selling off a lot of wine, but did not like their service or attitude, and especially did not like the prices and low clearance rates they were getting.  One reason for the lack of sales I believe is they charge exorbitant fees to both the seller and buyer!  While they have previously represented a premier brand for buying and selling wines in an appreciating market, I am not sure their model is all that successful in today’s marketplace.

We keep a cellar (two actually and it is expensive which is why I want to sell off a lot to get back into one cellar) at Wine-Ark.  I love the service there, meeting other wine collectors and the attitude and service from the local staff in Chatswood, NSW where we store our wine.  We put 60 bottles up on their Wine Exchange though and in six months, have had only one sale of four bottles!  Things just aren’t moving.

I then decided to take things into my own hands and did an email distribution and put up some posters advertising wine for sale.  Through this process, I sold off about 500 bottles, plus about 5 bottles of the 150 year old Grand Mariner.  This worked quite well, and I got decent prices (considering the market), but only addressed a limited potential following.

However, through the benefits of social media, over the last year, I have developed a good relationship with Mark Wickman, another real fan of wine and owner of Wickman’s Fine Wine Auctions.  (This is a link to Wickman’s FaceBook page.  His website where all the action occurs is Wickman’s Fine Wine Auction website.)  I have been monitoring Mark’s monthly auctions and have been impressed by the manner in which it is conducted, and especially his clearance rates.  There are several reasons I believe Mark does so well, one being that he charges far less commission on selling his wine than other wine auction houses, and another is that he is a really helpful and nice guy.  He is always willing to take the time to share his knowledge about wine.  Mark also now has a YouTube channel WickWineAuction where he shares a lot of his wine knowledge.

Mark is also realistic about establishing the right price point for the wine and ensuring that both the buyer and seller are happy with the transaction.  It is a terrible market for selling wine these days.  Most of us have too much debt, the global financial crisis continues to take a bit bite out of everyone, massive job lay-offs in investment banking and other industries have far too many people ‘dumping’ wine to turn what they can into cash.  It is important if you want to sell off some of your wine, you need to be realistic regarding the price you can get for it.  However, Langton’s and others have not seemed to adjusted for this and their customers are suffering for it.

I have been researching different channels to sell my wine and am now sending a palette of wine to Mark to auction off for me over the next couple of months.  I have been monitoring his results and also have checked him out in the industry and found he is both a very likable and high integrity individual.  He also goes to extremes to ensure the provenance of his wine which is really important.  I bought three bottles of the 1992 Grant Burge Mesach from another wine auction house only to find the bottles were not stored properly and hardly worth what I paid for them.

If you are buying or selling wine, check out Wickman’s Fine Wine Auctions!  I have looked at and used a number of channels for selling wine and believe Wickman’s is the best!  Possible ways of selling off wine include:

  • Using Wickman’s Fine Wine Auctions
  • Using another wine auction such as Langton’s
  • Use Wine-Ark Wine Exchange
  • Selling though want ads, listings, etc.
  • Trading wine or bartering other goods

It is a tough market to move wine, but Wickman’s I believe is one of the best ways to do so.

[Note:  Like all of my recommendations and criticisms of people and products in the wine industry, I have no commercial relationship to any of them, including Wickman’s.  I am just sharing my experiences and likes / dislikes with others who may be interested.]