Rob Rosania, a 38 year-old collector aka “Big Boy,” sold off around $5 million of his champagne and still wines at auction a couple of weeks ago. And yet he still remains one of the biggest collectors of champagne around.
This factoid from a recent Bloomberg article piqued my interest: Rosania owns 400 cases of the excellent champagne Salon 1996 (minus the five he sold at auction) out of a total of 5,000 produced. Poking around on the web revealed other sources saying that there were 8,000 cases produced. And these are six-bottle cases that we’re talking about. The champagne retails for $250 – $300 (search for the Salon 1996).
It’s a fascinating strategy for investing in wine. Rosania has somewhere between five and eight percent of this blue chip wine outstanding–and that percentage rises every time a cork of it is popped elsewhere. That’s probably a good percentage of the production to have to really benefit from a future price move yet not control the market entirely. It would be hard to take an equivalent percentage of a first growth Bordeaux wine since the production volumes are higher. All it takes is a big cellar and a cool $700k or so.
Even if the economy stagnates, wine such as this will probably always have buyers. Could it double in value in ten years? Even if it doesn’t Rosania can always have fun popping open the bottles of this fine wine with his saber.
I’ve tried a tasting-sized-pour of the 96 Salon and it is a brilliant champagne. In a wine investing video game, I might be tempted to adopt a similar strategy. If, in some fantasy world, you were going to take ten percent of a wine, which would it be?