So, it’s time. You’ve spent your life savings on a case of Chateau Latour and you want to reap the benefits. But here’s the thing … you can’t exactly put it on eBay now, can you? Selling wine online might seem like a good idea but the reality can be rife with pitfalls. First of all, are you sure that it is the right time to sell your wine? Even if it’s time to release some capital, you don’t want to sell below optimum value. Second, how will you deliver it? Fine wine is incredibly fragile and needs to be kept in secure conditions at all times, otherwise you risk making it unsellable. Then you need to consider how much you want to sell for, whether it is even the right time, have you got the right paperwork, as well as many, many other things. What you really need is a wine investment app that will help you with advice on all of the above, so you can successfully sell wine from home.
When to Sell My Wine?
Basically, the right time to sell wine online from home is when you want to. Either because you don’t have space in your cellar, because you need the money or simply because you don’t want it anymore.
What’s important is to remember that fine wines have two markets: those who drink it and those who invest in it. So investors need to be aware that no drinker will buy their wine post maturity date, and your case of Chablis will just become a very expensive ornament. Fine wine always comes with a suggested drinking window from the wineries (tech specs are usually available to download), so this is a good place to start. Anyone looking to sell wine online would also be wise to see what the critics are saying: a simple search on sites such as wine.com will quickly tell you what experts such as Robert Parker and Jane Anson of decanter.com say regarding when to drink. Ideally, you would be looking to sell a few years before peak maturity. Finally, certain wines are seasonal – sales of Champagne for example are more popular around Christmas while sales of rosé peak in the summer.
When Not to Sell My Wine?
Contrary to popular belief, sales of fine wine have little correlation with the stock market so even when the Dow Jones or FTSE 100 are low, this does not necessarily mean that your wine won’t sell. As a passion asset, fine wine – like cars, art, and gemstones – exist in a sort of satellite market that does not fluctuate in the same way as traditional stocks and shares. We saw during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic that people who wanted to sell wine online were 30% more likely to find a buyer than the previous year. This follows the market research that as a physical and diminishing asset, wine is far more likely to be popular in times of global economic uncertainty. Having said that, when the market is low, investors are naturally more cautious and have less disposable income, so while there might be no shortage of buyers, finding one with deep pockets might be a little harder.
Another tip we can give is avoid selling during winter or summer – unless you are keeping it in a quality-controlled warehouse. This is simply because the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter can have negative effects on the product itself. Of course, when using a reputable wine storage and transportation company, you should have nothing to worry about.
At What Price to Sell Wine Online?
Like women, wine is wonderfully (or woefully) fickle. A good bottle of wine is a story of many parts.
Only when you have considered the below can you then realistically determine a price at which to sell wine for the best price.
- History of the chateau: how long has this winery been in production? Has there been a recent renovation? What is it’s reputation? Just because a winery has been producing for centuries, that does not necessarily make it a candidate for excellence – and vice versa. Some of the newer wineries are producing amazing products, despite only being in existence for 20 or so years. Do your homework.
- Classification of the wine: If you have a hallowed first, second or even third growth, then this is pretty much a no-brainer – you have a product that almost everyone wants, so you can more or less name your price. If looking to sell wine online from one of the more ambiguous wineries – for example those that should have been included in the Bordeaux 1855 classification but weren’t, or a new world wine with a wonderful reputation but not alot of history, then we suggest talking to an expert to define the ideal price.
- Vintage: aaah the vintage. This is perhaps the key most element when it comes to determining the price of the wine you want to sell. Quality can vary enormously from year to year so what was good in 2017 will not necessarily be good in 2018. Northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere wine also have different harvesting calendars, so that is worth bearing in mind too. The vintage is largely dependent on…
- Weather conditions: a great vintage is made essentially when the weather has been good (ergo, with lots of sun) but not too hot, or with too much rainfall. If it has been too hot (above 33ºC) then the grapes risk becoming too sugary before they ripen. If the season has been too wet, then the grapes are at risk of rot. Early signs that a vintage will be above average are early flowering and a break in the vegative growth prior to the grapes turning colour. Basically, when the weather stars align, you’re in for a good year.
- Production quantity: This is an easy one – low yield means a limited product and like most limited editions, desirability is high. Note that wineries can sometimes limit their production in favour of taking only the very best grapes. In these (rare) cases, you have a gold mine.
- Terroir: again, incredibly important. Two vineyards can have the same climate but one might have a south facing slope, while another might have gravelly soil, meaning irrigation is better. Both are good but the results will not be the same.
- Winemaking styles: Certain vineyards – notably those with a big budget – have a vast team of consultants and oenologues. This undoubtedly leads to a superior product, notably if the budget is carried through to the winery. Some people are very well known in the industry – Michel Rolland for example for their particular techniques and Midas touch.
- Packaging: Is it an anniversary year, has there been a change in ownership, has an artist been commissioned for the label? All these things need to be considered as they can help you to sell wine.
- Critics tasting reviews and ratings: Again, pretty much a no brainer. If the experts all agree on a product’s superiority, then who are we to argue?
- Aging potential: Very, very important. Some of the Bordeauxs and Burgundies have an aging potential of plus-50 years pushing up their long-term worth. Most fine wines come in at around the 25 years mark so be patient, buy young and sell a couple of years before maturity.
- Previous owners: All reputable fine wines should have a certificate of ownership detailing the past storage conditions and sale prices. Your wine is unsellable if you don’t have this.
How to Sell My Wine Online?
Here is how to sell your wine online in 5 steps:
- Know the age your wine is most desired at
- Calculate your wine bottle’s price
- Find a reliable wine exchange platform
- Wait for the best time to sell
- Use a reputable wine storage and transportation company
Traditionally, selling wine has only been possible via a third party broker. As part of our cultural heritage, it has enjoyed an almost mythic status – after all, anything that is enjoyed by the rich and famous immediately becomes covetable to mere mortals. Yet, despite the market’s antiquity, it lends itself very well to e-commerce. Wine exchange platforms put buyers and sellers in direct contact with one another allowing both individuals and trade to buy and sell wine on-line with low commission fees and superb results.
As the provenance of the wine is incredibly important, many exchange platforms will not take on anything that has not been bought or authenticated by them. With Vindome for example, any wines that have been purchased on their platform are easy to sell on, provided they have stayed within your portfolio, and have been stored in one of the official warehouses. Simply place a bid on the Vindome platform and you will be connected to their hundreds of users who hopefully are looking for exactly what you are selling. And all this from the comfort of your armchair. Nice.
Who Do I Want to Sell to?
Once you have understood how to sell wine online, you need to decide who you are going to sell it to. This largely depends on what stage the wine is at – is it close to maturity or do you still have a few years left? Investors will only look at wines with at least a few years left on them, while hobby sommeliers and enthusiasts will want something at prime drinkability. Find a good wine exchange platform that carters for both these markets and you’re golden.
If you’d like to go more into detail about buying and selling wine check out our full guide on how to invest in wine.