- Many wines are manufactured in huge quantities, each bottle tasting the same as the next, and intended for immediate consumption. Wine as a collectable is more often chosen specifically for unique qualities, such as the vintage, the year of production, the variety, rarity, age, the bottle (shape, design), the label, or it’s desirability as an investment (able to be bought and sold for profit).
At the end of the 17th century, wine became appreciated for it’s particular qualities, and in France and England was the rise of social groups with money, taste and status to pay for fine wines. Before this, wine was consumed within a year of making.
Collecting wines has been both a hobby as well as an investment for serious wine collectors. There seems to be a sense of enjoyment and fulfilment that some people get with wine collecting. (winelist.com. 2008)- Characteristics of highly collectible wines include:1 A proven track record of holding well over time 2 A drinking window plateau (i.e., the period for maturity and approachability) that is many years long 3 A consensus amongst experts as to the quality of the wines 4 Rigorous production methods at every stage, including grape selection and appropriate barrel-aging. (wine.boonrepublic.com)
Wine auction prices continue to rise, as does the popularity of wine buying at auction. The number of wine auction price tracking websites is constantly increasing, with the companies such as Decanter Magazine establishing their own tracking site. Fitz-gerald Wine Auctions is hosting a wine auction in New Zealand currently, with highly collectable wines including Penfolds Grange (a variety of vintages) and Perrier Jouet 1979 Belle Epoque Champagne.
Wine fraudsters often work by charging excessively high prices for off-vintage or lower-status wines from famous wine regions, while claiming that they are offering a sound investment unaffected by economic cycles. Like any investment, proper research is essential before investing. (Piccante. 2010.) Christies Auction House are currently being sued for reportedly selling counterfeit wines earlier this year - Identification of fake wine is more of an art form using various clues instead of based on an objective assessment.-
Changes in market appeal – Women now more often have the financial means, the independence and confidence to make choices, and are choosing to collect wine, but for different reasons than men. Many women prefer the variety in collecting, rather than the age, which is encouraging for our newer wine industry in New Zealand. The Compleat Wine Cellar (a custom cellar company) has seen a major upturn in female customers, with over 50% of customers in the last 24months being female.Economic Downturn – With less disposable income available, both for the very rich, and for the average household, will people continue to put money into wine collections? Will the wine industry be able to attract the tourist dollar, both in purchase of wine and enterprises around it, such as wine tours?Environmental Management and Awareness - Monitoring and measuring environmental impact is becoming increasingly important to the wine industry, and particularly to wine as a collectable, as the development of fine, collectable wine is very sensitive to the environment. The struggle for resources such as water, power, vineyard spray applications, recycling, and waste management will become crucial. Public awareness of the environment is increasing, as is the awareness of sustainable practices. This is creating an increasing pressure on wineries to act environmentally responsible in their practices.
Wine as a Collectable Victoria Holden
Collectable, noun(also collectible) “any object which people want to collect as a hobby” (Cambridge University Press, 2010) Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication, nor a cult.. it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary. (Ernest Hemingway) visitoakpark.com
History The earliest wine cellar is thought to be that of King Zoser (Egypt) during the third dynasty (2686 BC to 2613 BC) (Poe, M. 2010) During the 17th century, in France and England, people mastered the skill of maturing and improving wines, so the collection of wines grew. (Foulkes, C. 1994)
“…You need money to play. Wine collectors are, by definition, wealthy.” (Jefford, A. 2010.) As the quality of wines, and the knowledge about ideal conditions for grape growing, wine making, and storage increases, so does the desire to collect wine. "The better the quality of the wine, the harder it is to get. Private cellars have more supplies of these wines than the trade does" (Bachmann, S. 2007) "Investment wines" are considered by some to be Veblen goods; goods for which demand increases as its price rises. (wine.boonrepublic.com)
Cult Wines Certain wines are known as collectable, sought after wines. These wines consistently fetch some of the highest prices on record Penfolds Grange is a cult wine. Individual bottles of the 1951 vintage are still held by collectors; one sold at auction in 2004 for just over AU$50,000 (smh.com.au) Wines from Bordeaux are considered the mostcollectable in the world http://www.smh.com.au
Wine as Art Some collect wine for art purposes. Wine, such as New Zealand artist Dick Frizzell’s, with ‘art like’ labels are being collected by avid art collectors. Famous for his ‘Four Square Man’ images, Dick now designs his own wine label. frizzellwines.co.nz
“The fine-wine world is a rich boys’ and rich girls’ club.”(Jefford, A. 2010.) Wine as an Investment Wines are now being recommended as a sound financial investment The index for the top 100 investment wines has seen prices leap by almost 15 per cent in 2009. Wines from Bordeaux are the driving force of the investment market. The most important are - premier crus - of chateaux Haut-Brion, Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux and Mouton Rothschild. (Walne, T. 2010) mywineinvestment.com
“For many collectors, the culminating moment is not the pulling of corks, but the auction.” (Jefford, A. 2010.) The most expensive wine ever sold was the Chateau Lafite 1787, which sold for US$160,000, in 1987. Once owned by Thomas Jefferson, this wine will likely never be consumed. (Passmore, N. 2003) Websites such as wineprices.com are dedicated to tracking wine auction prices. A seven-bottle lot of Montrachet 1978 from Domaine de la Romanee-Cont sold for a whopping US$167,500 in 2001 at auction. (Moisse, K. 2010)
Cellaring...preserving the flavours while postponing the pleasure... (LaMar, J. 2010) Critical to the quality of collectable wine is storage or cellaring. Due to the increase in wine collecting, and the awareness of storage and cellaring, thousands of companies now deliver custom made cellars, catering to any need be it 10 bottles or 10,000 bottles.
Influential Collections The Moldovan wine collection “MilestiiMici”, with 1.5 million bottles, and 200km long, is the largest wine collection in the world. (Guinness World Records) Hardy Rodenstock became known for his wine tastings which he held at expensive restaurants, serving large amounts of rare wines from his extensive collection, and inviting celebrities and prominent wine critics. http://d2.stern.de/bilder/stern_5/lifestyle/2010/KW16/weinflaschen_fitin_150_100.jpg
Wine Counterfeits Counterfeit wines prove to be a major problem to the wine collecting industry. A particular trend is the use of labels from rare and expensive wines on cheap bottles of wine.
The counterfeiting of any item is more likely when:
- The item is substantially more valuable than the cost to fake it. - The identification of fakes is difficult or inherently subjective. Fine wine easily satisfies both (Piccante. 2010.) http://www.creovino.com/archives/26
Wine Collecting and Future Challenges Changes in market appeal - While females make more than two-thirds of U.S. wine purchases, more than 90% of U.S. collectors are males. However that is beginning to change. Economic downturn - With less disposable income available, for both the very rich, and the average household, will people continue to put money into wine as a collectable? Environmental Management and Awareness - Monitoring and measuring environmental impact is becoming increasingly important to the wine industry, and particularly to wine as a collectable
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Foulkes, C. (1994). Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine. Paris, Larousse.
Hemingway, E. (n.d). Famous Wine Quotes. Retrieved August 6, 2010, from http://www.abiwine.com/wine-quotes/wine-quotations.htm
Jefford, A. (August, 2010). Paying the Price. Decanter, Vol 35, 23.
Kanellos, M. (2007). An eBay for Wine Collectors. Retrieved July 29, 2010, from http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9717950-7.html
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Passmore, N. (2003). World’s most expensive wines. Retrieved July 28, 2010, from http://www.forbes.com/2003/11/19/cx_np_1119feat.html
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Turnbull, J. (2002). Fine French Wines. Italy: Flammarion.
Walne, T. (2010). Wine collection as a profitable investment. Retrieved July 28, 2010, from http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/wine_msg.php?titleid=882