Time to Buy or time to Sell?

There are many wine investors in the world today, and David Weinstein, a well-respected dealer of French art glass in New York, has one of the most impressive collections in existence. His fine wine investments have included more than 1,000 cases of wine, mostly red Bordeaux.

Many experts in the realm of alternative investments agree that there are really only three ways to deal with rapid price fluctuations in the fine wine market: either be dedicated to weathering the storm, start to drink from the bottles, or buy more to take advantage of the low prices. Those who have put some hard-earned money into fine wine investment may have seen bad times in the last quarter of 2008, but the prices rapidly picked up again in the first quarter of the following year.

According to experts, now is the best time for collectors to invest in fine wine, in part because it will give them a chance to fill in any expensive gaps. After the major corrections were made in 2008 and again this year, the biggest names in the wine industry were affected, particularly those that belong to the first growth Bordeaux category. Examples of such wines include Lafite, Latour, Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Margaux, among others.

To further support this stance, Charles Curtis, who is in charge of Christie’s wine department in North America, has recently said that now is a very good time to purchase fine wine. In fact, he mentioned that now is the best time in the entire last ten-years. Today, many people have become eager to take a part in fine wine as an alternative investment. The current market has brought unprecedented access to such alternative investments these days, and even ordinary people who do not have millions or billions to spend now have a chance to experience the fine wine market.

Aside from the ever-increasing prices of fine wine, another advantage for collectors who are interested in buying fine wine today comes with the ready availability of many sought-after vintages. Even if the cost of investment-grade wine still ranges in the hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds for each bottle, the exquisite flavour of the most popular vintages is virtually guaranteed to make the wine a highly prized drink, with many of the wealthiest collectors buying fine wines for consumption instead of investment purposes.

In another good example, consider Aubrey K. McClendon, Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s chief executive. A 2009 auction brought nearly $9 million dollars for his fine wine collection of more than 9,000 bottles, when he decided to sell the entire lot in response to a cash crisis. The sale was done in two parts; half in New York last March, and the other half in Hong Kong during the following month. The presale estimate was only $5 million, but McClendon actually came out well above the expected sale price for his fine wine investments.


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