Reader mailbag: where can I sell my wine?

petrus71 At dinner tonight an attorney from Boston mentioned that he inherited some fine wine from his brother. The bulk of the collection was sold at auction by Christie’s, but he has a case of Petrus that was kept at home. It was kept in “ok” condition, but lacks perfect storage pedigree. Any thoughts on how to best unload a few (or all) of these bottles? – Anonymous reader

Auction houses may be fine with you buying only a case at an auction. But it is often hard to sell small amounts of wine through houses that run live auctions. Some have started brokering small amounts or odd lots directly, without bringing them to auction. I would suggest calling John Kapon at Acker, Merrall in New York or Paul Hart at Hart Davis Hart in Chicago and asking them what they suggest. I suspect the questionable storage conditions will make them hesitant but it’s worth a call nonetheless.

Another option is trying to sell the bottles through WineCommune.com. They are an online person-to-person auction so the auctioneer in this instance cannot vouch for the quality of the wine being sold. Even with the questionable storage declared in the listing, I’m sure there would be some buyers who would be willing to take a chance since it is Petrus.

The advantages of this method are that you could even sell just one bottle at a time and the transaction costs are lower (two to five percent). The disadvantages are that the price may not be has high. One tip: your friend might want to sell a few, lower priced bottles first to garner a feedback rating on the site before selling the Petrus.

He could also call some good shops near him to see if they can recommend any local wine brokers. In many places shops aren’t legally allowed to buy from individuals since they must buy only from wholesalers.

Does anyone else have further suggestions? Or experience in selling odd bottles?

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4 Responses to “Reader mailbag: where can I sell my wine?”


  1. An update:

    I just spoke with a collector friend and he suggested that you could take it to a store who would essentially sell it on consignment for you, taking 15% as a commission. He cautioned that this might not be available in all states. And it helps if you trust the retailer!


  2. There is a lot of content on http://www.wineinvestor.com which exactly covers this topic


  3. Dear DR.VINO,

    My name is Ottonelli and I own a small vineyard in Tuscany, in the D.O.C Montecucco production area, situated between the brunello di Montalcino and Morellino di Scansano surfaces.We produce around 13.000 (0,750 bottles per year).(www.muschialti.it)

    We are looking for distributors interested in selling our products on the European and in the U.S range of our products.

    Waiting for your kind reply, I remain, with best regards.

    Silvestro Ottonelli


  4. Silvestro, I am just back from Tuscany and Brunello, on a great vacation. Sorry I did see this before, we could have met in person. I have an import and e-commerce business based in Napa CA and would be keen on talking to you about possible import. Kindly email anytime – tim.campbell@vinoasia.com


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