Ask Peter Meltzer your wine collecting questions

Peter Meltzer, author of Keys to the Cellar: Strategies and Secrets of Wine Collecting, joins us this week for a Q&A about wine collecting. In Keys to the Cellar, Meltzer draws on his twenty years as Wine Auction Correspondent for Wine Spectator to craft a thorough book about the ins and outs of collecting, storage and investing.

Meltzer will respond to your questions just as the auction market heats up for 2007. After a record year of $167 million worth of wine auctions last year in the US, the auction market kicks into gear with a big auction at Hart Davis Hart in Chicago this weekend. Next weekend, Sotheby’s and Morrell have auctions in NYC. In fact, almost every auction house has one in the next month or so.

So post your questions on auction strategy, wine cellars, and general wine collecting here in the comments. I’ll close the comments at 3PM Eastern on Wednesday. Peter Meltzer will then reply here on this blog later in the week.

UPDATE: here’s the link to his replies

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12 Responses to “Ask Peter Meltzer your wine collecting questions”

  1. Just this weekend I opened the first bottle of ’90 Figeac purchased at an HDH auction last year. It was flawed. It tasted more cooked than corked. What, if any, are my chances of recourse from HDH, and should I try to return the rest of the lot? I have purchased from HDH both at auction and at retail and this is the first flawed bottle from them.


  2. I’m just starting to think about collecting, and I don’t have a fancy cellar or anything in place yet, just a cool (but probably not constant-temperature) basement. Should I invest in a wine refrigerator before proceeding?

  3. How do I know when I wine has peaked? I have a ’94 that recently went up in value, but does that mean it’s time to drink it?

  4. Maybe I’m a cynic, but it seems that people can get really competitive at auctions, and rational pricing can sometimes go by the wayside. Is there any systematic way to get real values at auction?

  5. What is the best single source for tracking the progress of specific vintages of specific wines (most importantly Bordeaux) so that I know when to pull them out of the cellar? (I know, I know, depends on storage conditions, etc., but let’s assume they are “perfect”)

  6. I’m curious if you have a rule of thumb as to when a pre-auction tasting is a good value? Or perhaps how to make the most of such a tasting?

  7. Does the auction site matter? E.g., do you get better values at Chicago auctions vs. New York auctions?

  8. Mr. Meltzer,

    I have a case of 1989 Mouton in my basement (cool but passive storage conditions). How can I check the value? And what is the best way to sell it?


  9. Thanks for all these great questions! I’m going to close the comments now for Peter Meltzer. But if you stumble on this posting at a future time and still have questions, feel free to drop me a line (click “contact” above) and I’ll see what advice I can offer.



  10. I have a few bottles of older wines (from the ’50s or ’60s). If I were to sell any at auction, and they turned our to be bad, who would be responsible?

    New York

  11. I just bought a house and have a basement where the temp is between 60F and 65F with humidity between 30%-45% depending on the day. I have some wines I want to keep cellared for a while (not anything like an 82 Lafite mind you). What are your thoughts on those conditions. Good enough or would you go for a Vinotemp or something like it.

    Thanks – Dave S. – Brooklyn, NY

  12. […] Peter Meltzer, author of Keys to the Cellar: Strategies and Secrets of Wine Collecting replies to your questions. His answers follow in […]


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