Cellars : How To Sell Your Wine At Auction
If you are considering selling off your cellar treasures, it’s best to keep in mind the old adage that “a thing is worth only what someone else will pay for it.” And whether it’s just a few bottles or an entire collection for sale, the real trick is finding that someone.
Among brick-and-mortar auction houses, online person-to-person sales, retail consignment and informal trades, the secondary market for wine sales is vast and decentralized. Regulations regarding sales of alcohol vary from state to state, adding another layer of complexity.
Which wine-selling venue is best for you? No surprise here, but the answer depends on the number and the quality of the bottles you’d like to sell. And if you go the auction route, expect a few dollars to be shaved off the final hammer priceafter sellers fees, insurance and taxes. Before you approach anyone, heres what youll need to considerto save yourself time and moneybefore you put your wine on the auction block.
Find Your Selling Platform
Once you understand the value of your wine, youll need to know how to sell to specific buyers looking for niche vintages. There are three main types of buyers who purchase fine wine:
- Cult and rare wine enthusiasts
- Blue chip investors
- Buyers focused on one region, producer, or varietal
Different selling platforms appeal to these specific markets. Your choices are:
In-person auctions usually appeal most to blue chip investors looking for the most popular, valuable bottles in the world. A trustworthy auction house already has a large audience of these types of collectors, making it easy for you to find a buyer. The downside is that auction sales fees can be steep. If you have sought-after vintages from top producers, and youre willing to pay a higher fee, an auction house might be the right choice for you.
Online Wine Marketplace
- More convenient for buyers than an in-person auction
- Bottles stay in safe storage while buyers bid
- Can charge a flat fee
- Experts help you decide price
- Shipments to buyers included
- Have to pay a small selling fee
- Buyers cant see the wine in-person
- Very low sales fee
- Full control over bottle price
- Have to handle shipments yourself
- Have to decide price without an experts help
- No filtering of buyers
- Need to get a wine sellers license
How To Sell Your Wine: A Complete Guide To Liquidating Your Fine Wine Collection
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Selling your wine involves more than knowing how much your bottles are worth. You could own an incredibly rare Lafite Rothschild vintage, but if you dont know the best way to sell it, you might miss out on hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of dollars in profits. You should consider the best price to charge for your wine, as well as which selling platform will meet your needs. Youll also want to take advantage of yearly market trends to attract the perfect buyer. Here are the major steps in the wine selling process:
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Is My Wine Bad
Wine that is in bad condition wont sell. It is difficult to tell by looking at the outside of the bottle if the wine could be bad . However, there are some tell-tell signs that would cause a wine auction house not to sell a wine on your behalf:
The cork is sticking out of the bottle.
The cork is sunken into the bottle.
The label is in poor condition.
The ullage is low.
Will The Return Be Worth Your While
Many venues offer free appraisal of bottles you intend to sell. Make a list of your wines, where you bought them and how they were stored, and send it out. Meanwhile, consider when you want to sell the wines and investigate the other following costs you may incur:
SLIDING-SCALE SELLER’S FEE: The most important issue facing a potential consignor is the auction house’s seller’s fee, which can range from zero to 18 percent of the final bid. Acker Merrall & Condit and Morrell & Co. never charge any seller’s fee whatsoever. The remaining commercial auction firms impose a sliding scale that will vary according to the rarity, quantity, quality and condition of the consignment. If a collection is particularly valuable or noteworthy, the seller’s fee may be waived entirely. If the consignment is significant, a seller’s fee of about 6 percent is fairly standard. Since the final amount is negotiable, it’s worth shopping around in order to get the best rate. If an auction house is interested in your consignment, they will likely send you a provisional estimate along with a reserve price and the proposed consignor’s fee. Then it’s up to you to decide.
INSURANCE: Some houses impose an insurance charge that works out to about 1 percent of the estimate and covers your wine while it is in their temperature-controlled storage facility prior to the sale. However, if your wine is already insured under your homeowner’s policy, ask to obtain a waiver if your personal plan bears a better rate.
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Have A Wine Collection That You Want Or Need To Sell
- Dont drink what you have in your cellar any longer?
- Are you moving or downsizing?
- Do you have too much wine?
- Has someone passed?
- Dont want or need the wine in your home?
- Do you just need the money?
Whatever your reason, selling your wine has never been easier or more profitable. With Big Hammer Wines, you have a trusted expert who will offer you the best price. Our unique business model allows us to beat any competitors offer.
Sell Your Wine & Spirits
We are not an auction house we are specialists at buying wine, brandy, champagne and spirits outright from individual clients. We have worked hard to become a respected name in wine sales and earn the trust of everyone we have worked with. We have created the simplest process for you to sell your wine collection and we work hard to earn your trust through free appraisals, competitive pricing and a hassle-free easy process from the appraisal through payment.
We can buy your wine wherever you are in the United States. Whether you choose to ship your wine, bring your wine to us or let us come to you, we will provide you with the easiest, most convenient wine selling process possible. Some of the most common questions we hear are: How can I sell my wine and ensure Im getting the best price?, How do I know which wine merchant to sell to?. These are valid questions and TK Wine has proven to thousands of clients that we are the right choice company to whom you should sell your wine.
Here at TK Wine we emphasize the following when you sell wine and spirits to us:
- Immediate Payment, Maximum Price
- Upfront, same-day payment option available! We buy your wine speedily and at the best possible price.
- Multiple Selling Methods
Our buying process is designed to be as stress-free and convenient as possible.We guarantee that selling wine has never been easier. Contact TK Wine today!
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Pick The Best Platform To Sell Your Wine
A lot of wine collectors go to auction houses, like Bonhams and Heritage, to sell their wine. However, there is sometimes a lot of paperwork involved, not to mention that there are requirements to be met before you get approved to have your collection auctioned. Moreover, sometimes they only auction extensive collections that have a significant value.
If you are interested, auction houses both have an online and offline platform where they auction items. This is to accommodate a lot of buyers and sellers. Also, note that auction houses deduct the money for insurance and taxes, so you wont get the full money that the collection sold.
If you want to sell your wine collection somewhere close, you can sell them to a nearby restaurant. A lot of restaurants these days are interested in value aged wines and are willing to spend money on them. However, before going on ahead and selling them, take note of the liquor laws and restrictions to your city.
Big Hammer Wines Ensures You Get The Best Price For Your Wine Collection
Big Hammer is the #1 online wine retailer in California. Our passionate customers want unique, special and limited wines. Trust us to properly evaluate your collection so you earn more.
Unlike a wine auction, we provide estimates upfront, with no hidden fees or charges. Once your wine has been appraised and verified, you will be paid for the entire collection. No waiting for the wine to sell.
We make it easy and simple for you with a quick turnaround. Our unsurpassed network of buyers means a ready market. And our direct to consumer business model ensures sellers get better returns.
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Whats The Value Of Your Wine
Collectible fine wine has inherent value and real value. Inherent value comes from the wine itself. The way it was made, including the terroir on which the grapes were grown, the classification of the wine, the producers reputation, and the techniques the winemakers used to process the grapes all give the wine inherent value. Real value comes from what happens after the wine is already bottled, such as how it was stored and how many owners it has had in its lifetime.
A wine must have both of these types of value in order to sell for the highest profit. Look at the list of qualities below, and count how many accurately describe your wine:
Packing & Shipping Your Collection
We can handle all of the door-to-door logistics, including on-site inventory for large collections and arranging transportation. We use our contacts in the industry to provide the most efficient and reliable shipping solution for your wine collection. If you live in the San Francisco Bay or Portland, OR areas, our cellar team can pick-up your large collection at no charge and Napa/Portland locals are welcome to drop off their collections at Benchmark Wine Group or Brentwood Auctions.
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Which Wines To Sell
Remember that the only wines with significant investment or resale value are premium wines. That means you need to invest in first or possibly second growth Bordeaux grand cru and/or some premier cru red and white Burgundies top Rhone Valley wines, such as well-rated Chateauneuf-du-Pape vintage Champagne top dessert wines, such as Chateau dYquem sauternes and prestige reds from Italy, Spain and Australia. There is a devoted market for German Riesling and Portugals best dessert wines, but the markets are limited compared to the demand for the internationally famous reds.
Cult wines are another story. The most famous cult wines sell on the secondary market for 100% or more of their release price. Cult wines include such famous Cabs as Screaming Eagle and Harlan, and nearly anything produced by Sine Qua Non.
Sell Entire Collection To One Buyer Or Sell One Bottle At A Time:
Depending on the size of your collection, you may want to sell it as a whole collection to one buyer or sell it one bottle at a time. The method you choose will depend on your needs and expectations.
Whatever you decide, CellarSpace can assist.
If you want to sell as a whole collection to one buyer, we can assist with valuing your collection and connecting you with a buyer.
On the other hand, if you choose to sell one bottle at a time, we can assist with valuing the bottles, setting your adverts up on line and connecting you with buyers.
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What We Need To Know About Your Bottle
In order to make sure that the fine and rare wine bottles we purchase are authentic and meet our customersstandards we inspect all bottles upon arrival or pickup. To that end, when inspecting the bottles we use ourexperts expertise and typically focus our review on the condition of the label and capsule, the fill level,the color and clarity of the wine and any other blemishes and/or conditions that may be present.
To help you better understand how wine is evaluated the following are the terms and abbreviations often usedwhen describing bottle conditions for fine and rare vintage wines:
How Does The Wine Auction Work
The auction house will let you know the approximate date of the auction and the bidding process. Typically the auction happens at a location where people can attend in person, and online bidding happens concurrently.
Prior to the auction, your wines are featured on social media, in newsletters, and through other promotional channels to get the word out about an upcoming auction. These promotions may occur anywhere from one month or one week prior to the auction.
The auction house will advise which wines should be sold individually, which should be sold as a pair or set, and which should be presented as a vertical . These decisions are based upon the experience of the seller and their understanding of what people buy. In our experience, we have sold wines as individual bottles, as a set of three identical bottles, and as a vertical of three or five wines .
Each auction house sells a little differently. However, there are similar patterns. The auction may start with vintage Champagne, then go to white Burgundy, and then to collectible German Rieslings. From there, they may go to red Burgundy and Bordeaux before switching over to collectible New World wines
Each wine is presented. If the auction is online, you can watch each wine get bid on and sold! Exciting stuff for wine enthusiasts!
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Has Similar Wine Sold At Auction Recently
If your wines have a track record for auction sales, there’s a good chance that reputable auction houses will be interested in them. Think you’ve got an exceptional bottle but there’s no price history? Of getting such a wine accepted into an auction, Mark Smoler, vice president of client services at Hart Davis Hart says it depends highly on the wine: “It is improbable but not impossible.” For online auctions or retail consignments, the circle of wines accepted is wider, but still somewhat limited. Do some research on the prospective outlet’s current inventory to see if they carry similar wines. If your bottles don’t show up in your search, it doesn’t mean they won’t be accepted, but your odds are longer.
We Specialize In High End Wine Sales
Our track record speaks for itself:
- 99% of wine and spirits received by TK Wine is purchased direct from clients.
- We have purchased over 100,000 bottles in the last four years.
- We have paid over $50,000,000 in client sales.
- We provide the best possible client support. In all of those transactions, we have never had a negative review!
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Best Ways To Sell Your Wine
So what are the best ways to sell your wine online? We’ve already shown you the best places to buy wine online, but those aren’t the sites where you will be selling yours.
You may know that selling wine is not necessarily as easy as going on Craigslist or eBay. In fact, there are certain hoops you need to jump in order to do it legally. To find out more about how to sell wine and sales laws, keep reading.
What Happens After Your Buyer Bids
If you sell your wine via auction house or online marketplace, shipping is usually already included. The professional sellers already have contracts with shipping companiesyou simply supply the wine. However, if you decide to sell the wine on your own, youll need to consider a complex set of legal steps before your buyer can buy it. You must:
- Get a wine-selling license through your state
- Get approval from your state to ship wine to your buyers location
- Check that your buyers state allows wine shipments
- Contact a trustworthy shipping company
- Pack the wine according to the companys standards
- Send the wine to your buyer
In some cases, you might be denied a shipping license, which means you cant sell your wine at all. This is why the sales fees for auction houses or online marketplaces are often worth the extra cost. Heres what happens when you ship via an online marketplace:
The last step is the most important one for your buyers. A collector who spends thousands of dollars on a top-tier bottle of DRC wants to ensure that the bottle they are buying is authentic and reaches them safely. Selling your wine through other websites like eBay doesnt necessarily guarantee authenticity or a refund for heat damage. Experienced collectors prefer to shop with retailers who offer them shipping thats specifically designed with wine in mind.
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Relax And Enjoy The Pursuit
These are just a few of the numerous options when considering selling your wine collection.
Whatever it is you enjoy collecting, from wine to baseball cards to rare coins, its nice to know theres a variety of options available if you need to sell.
Setting your mind at ease will make you a better collector. Relax and enjoy the pursuit.
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