Home > Types of Auction > Wine Auctions

Wine Auctions

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 24 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Auction Wine Auction Online Wine Auction

You might not have given it a great deal of thought but wine auctions are big business. A single bottle can go for hundreds, even many thousands in some instances (a bottle of Burgundy fetched over £3,000 a few years ago, for instance), with cases going for sometimes ridiculous amounts.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can make a killing in the wine market, or even find some remarkable wine bargains. You need to know wine, and not just as an amateur, but as a professional, in order to compete well at auctions.Many experts suggest that you begin by learning about specific regions, with Bordeaux and Burgundy the choice of many serious wine collectors. Bordeaux is probably the best starting point; it has large estates, which means the novice can learn about the winemakers more easily.

How It Works

A wine auction works exactly the same way as any other auction, although they tend to be run by auction houses that specialise in wine. In most cases you’ll begin by filling in a form with your name and address and produce valid identification, after which you’ll receive a bidding number (those who can’t be present can register bids for specific lots with the auction house).You need to become familiar with the language of viniculture and wine auctions. At an auction, for example, a wine lot that doesn’t meet its reserve is “bought back” by the auction house. Ullage is the amount of wine in the bottle lost to evaporation, generally expressed in a measurements (x centimetres) or a term like “mid-shoulder” as an indication. More recent wines, especially those bottled in the last five years, should definitely not show any ullage.Obviously you bid, and the person with the last, highest bid is the winner. There are a few tricks that can help you along. Keep your money until later in the auction, by which time many other buyers will have already run through their money. At that point you can sometimes pick up a bargain.

Additionally, if two similar lots follow each other, go for the second. That can be very valuable if one bidder pays a high price for the first lot – once he’s out of the way, the second lot might well be knocked down for a much lower price.

Many buyers will go for the big names and major vintages – the kind of wines that are the stuff of legend, if you will. The chances are that you can’t compete for them, or even for the smaller names that are fashionable. This is where knowledge comes in handy. Cult wines that have fallen out of fashion can be snapped up, and so can some lesser-loved vintages. With a Bordeaux vintage, try bidding on a ’94, a ’97 or a ’98 – all of which sell for much lower prices than the big vintages, but are often just as good.

Online Wine Auctions

You’ll quickly discover that there are plenty of online wine auctions these days, and they can be a good way to dip your toe into the water. The prices are lower, and so is the risk (these aren’t eBay auctions, but through auction houses). Once you know your way around them, and you’ve picked up some good wines, it will be time to go to an in-person wine and test your mettle against the big boys.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Who wrote this actua
    Re: Auction House Commissions
    Who wrote this actual trolley of garbage?
    19 July 2019
  • Diane
    Re: Problem With an Item Bought at Auction
    Won item from curr and dewars in Dundee, contacted them to confirm opening hours to arrange collection. Hired a van…
    13 June 2019
  • Francesca Gemeli
    Re: Selling Collectibles
    I have a full set of The Lord ofthe rings chess set 3. I have no board but i have the whole collection in mint condition. Im up for genuine…
    12 June 2019
  • Francesca Gemeli
    Re: Selling Collectibles
    I have a full set of The Lord ofthe rings chess set 3. I have no board but i have the whole collection in mint condition. Im up for genuine…
    12 June 2019
  • Topgun296945
    Re: Selling Collectibles
    I have 6 storage box’s of buffy the vampire stuff to sell books, statues, collectors cards. Badges, mouse pads , pencil case were can I sell?
    3 June 2019
  • charles azzopardi
    Re: The Legal Implications of Buying at Auction
    i bought an 18cent.maltese chest serpentine commode for stg.£4,450.-- in an auction on line bid on the…
    18 April 2019
  • jimbo
    Re: Consumer Law and Auction Goods
    I recently purchased a 'Rolex' at auction. Unfortunately a few days later I was admitted to hospital. I contacted the auction…
    28 March 2019
  • RhodieBoy
    Re: Consumer Law and Auction Goods
    06 March 2019 Hi, We sold a few items including used TV at a local auction this evening, and upon going to collect the cash…
    6 March 2019
  • Jade
    Re: Selling Collectibles
    I’m selling Aston Drake porcelain dolls mint condition authentication certificates and original packaging and also Franklin mint heirloom…
    14 January 2019
  • Nannie 2
    Re: Consumer Law and Auction Goods
    I have been purchasing items from an auction house for some time and selling the items on with the profits going to a charity I…
    5 January 2019