Wine Investing: How to Profit as a Fine Wine Investor
Updated: Apr 25
Many of us think of wine as something to consume but not something to add to an investment portfolio.
Lists of alternative investments often include investment-grade wine among assets like real estate and commodities.
Purchasing the right types of wine can be an inflation hedge. Hedges against inflation are on the minds of many people these days.
What are the ways to invest in wine?
One way is by using a third-party website like Vinovest that lets you invest in wine without having to possess the wine.
Another way is DIY wine investing, which involves buying and storing the wine yourself and then selling it in one of several different ways.
A loose analogy is buying mutual funds vs. researching and buying individual stocks. You pay a monetary premium for the former. The latter costs you in time.
Some wine investors take the time to visit various wineries, especially when there are commercial vineyards in their market area.
What is investment-grade wine?
Investment-grade wine can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars per bottle. These are wines that are likely to increase in value over time.
Two critical characteristics of wine that mean the product is likely to appreciate over time are high ratings and scarcity. Collectible wines are typically produced in small quantities.
By "high ratings," we mean 95 to 100-point scores from critics such as
Where can you buy this level of product?
Not surprisingly, the best investment-grade wine in the United States comes from our backyard here in Northern California.
The highest concentration of collectible California wines is in Napa Valley. Brands such as Schrader Cellars, David Abreu, Caymus, and Mondavi all produce collector-level wines.
For years, Screaming Eagle was the most expensive Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. In September 2022, three bottles sold at auction for $13,750 USD.
On the less expensive side, at the time of this writing, Mondavi was selling "Six Bottles in a Wooden Case" of Opus One 2019 for $2,340 (six bottles is the minimum quantity you should purchase for investment purposes). You can reserve a time to visit the Opus One winery and purchase directly while there.
On the other hand, to buy wine directly from David Abreu, you must be a club member. At the time of this writing, there was a waitlist to become a member.
If you are buying wine for investment purposes, you should ideally purchase the wine directly from a winery. This is so you can remove the transportation and storage variables that can damage a red wine.
Since buying directly from a winery is not always an option, you can purchase a case from a local wine store or an online vendor.
Where & how should you store your bottles?
Your wine should be stored in a wine cellar under lock and key. Alternatively, you can use a professional storage facility.
How long you plan to store a case of wine before selling it determines whether you should store it upright or on its side.
How can you sell your bottles?
One of the easiest ways to sell your wine is through an online auction site like Winebid.com. To sell your wine through Winebid, you can start by requesting an estimate.
Traditional auction houses are another option. These houses include Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Zachys.