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Is Investing in Wine a Good Idea?

 © by Caroline Ashleigh, AAA, USPAP



That is the question author Joe Roseman poses in his chapter on wine, in his new book entitled, SWAG - Silver, Wine, Art, Gold - Alternative Investments for the Coming Decade. The answer – “Indeed, wine has tended to appreciate at a time when many traditional assets have struggled.” To illustrate his point, Mr. Roseman cites the statistic that the index of the top 100 investment grade wines has increased by about 250% over the last decade.

In truth, most wine collectors become investors by pure accident. When their cellars become too crowded, they sell a few bottles and, in the process, often reap surprising gains.

Peter D. Meltzer, Wine Spectator correspondent, states, “Even people who never bought wine are lapping it up,” demand is huge. Like many other commodities, blue chip investment grade wines are in a secular bull market for essentially the same reason: to accommodate the huge increase in demand as rapidly emerging markets like China are competing for the scare supply of the most desirable wines.

Perhaps more than any other asset, the supply of fine wine is finite – when each bottle of any particular fine wine is consumed, its supply goes down. A perfect example of this is what is known as the Lafite Phenomenon. Because of its association with success, Chateau Lafite has recently become the number one status symbol in China, causing some vintages to go up nearly tenfold in value over the last decade. In China, the demand for blue chip investment grade wines has soared to the point where Unites States based auction houses achieve most of their turn over in Hong Kong.

Fine wines have been regarded as an interesting addition to an investor’s portfolio, providing valuable diversification to a broad range of assets. As no surprise, Wall Street types are putting money into some of the growing number of so-called ‘wine funds’ which are akin to mutual funds. “Wine investors are seeking bondlike security with stocklike returns,” says David Sokolin, author of Investing in Liquid Assets. “People invest in wine because they think it’s interesting.”

As with any investment, however, an indiscriminating approach may well result in disappointment. Just like a portfolio of equities, a portfolio of wine requires skill and judgment in its composition. For that reason, one is well advised to seek the professional opinion of a certified appraiser/consultant who can provide expert assistance with valuing fine wine, portfolio evaluation, and provenance review.

If you are a collector of fine wine, perhaps you've spent years, even decades, putting your fine wine collection together, and maybe the time has come to have it appraised or sold. Or perhaps you've inherited some rare wines as part of an estate.

Whatever your situation, whatever your reason, our firm provides a broad range of fine wine appraisal, advisory and auction services, that helps clients manage their wine cellars and portfolios.






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Caroline Ashleigh Associates - Heritage Auctions
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