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Finding a reputable merchant to value a collection


#1

Hi there fellow members.

The reason for the post is to seek your advice. A relative of mine has a wine collection amassed by her late husband and she wants to know its value. I’ve catalogued it and used Winesearcher and some of my knowledge to give an amateur view, but it needs a pro to corroborate and/or correct my assumptions, and in particular give a proper view on what the value might do over time, and what to sell and keep etc.

She approached a merchant before but felt he was taking advantage, so I’ll like to have a recommendation from people in the know, and who can be trusted. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

The collection is heavily biased to red, with Bordeaux, USA and Australia the majority of the collection. It’s in Wiltshire so that may be relevant too, as I’d assume a valuer would want to see some of the wines at least to check cellar conditions and authenticity.

I’d be very grateful for any advice from WS staff and other contributors.

Many thanks in advance.


#2

Hi,

Apart from the Auction Houses (which are very expensive now but can access a broader customer base for fine wines)), a growing group of brokers has developed who buy wines and then sell them to the trade, restaurants and private clients. They will give a valuation as well but do prefer wines in bond. Examples include:

https://www.astonlovell.com/sell-your-wine/ and https://thelondonwinecellar.com

Perhaps another option would be a direct approach to one of the upper end restaurants in Wiltshire, Somerset or Oxfordshire. There are quite a few - try contacting the Sommelier direct.

Of course, with all of the options you cannot expect to get the price you see on sites like Winesearcher - everyone will expect to make a profit and so you might expect offers of up to 50% less than the advertised retail price.


#3

I don’t know if Blast Vintners might fall into that type of broker as well. They certainly sell a mix of IB and DP


#4

A reputable auctioneer is good for these sorts of things, they normally have a better view of the secondary market than many merchants and will value based on what it might achievable when sold, rather than a value that would leave it languishing on a broking list.

My personal recommendation would be Chris at Bacchus Auctions. No professional connection other than as a satisfied auction customer, although I do know him personally through wine lunches etc.


#5

Chris at Bacchus would be a good choice. Great reputation.


#6

I would say one key question is whether you are valuing with the intention of selling or insuring, or a bit of both as the opening post suggests.


#7

I will send you a suggestion by private message.


#8

Please be very careful. This is a field where there are rogues at work. You are quite right to ask about the probity of anyone who may claim expertise in this field, so asking here is a good start!

For example, some people have had very bullish estimates of the worth of their cellars and as a result have commited the contents to the valuers company, only to find themselves on the receiving end of fraud or very sharp practice.

You may want to take a look at Jim Budd’s Investdrinks website, where there is a list of companies of some repute in either the buying or selling of good quality wines (or both). And reading through some of the stories of the crooks who have cost people a fortune is a salutary lesson.

Investdrinks Blog


#9

Many thanks to all who have provided suggestions, and observations.

Robin63, it’s a very fair point to say that the values on Winesearcher are likely to be higher than those my relative will receive, as any auctioneer or merchant would take a fee.

I note that Chris from Bacchus has received a couple of recommendations so will certainly check him out.

Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis, I intend to be very careful. A bad experience was precisely the reason I have sought advice on the forum as well as from others in the business who I trust, and have suggested individuals who may be qualified to give a valuation and resell.

MikeFranklin, the intention is really to get an accurate valuation, see what that value is likely to do in the next few years (particularly as there are some wines in there that are getting close to the end of their drinkable window, which I’m sure will have some impact on the resell value, although not necessarily a simple one as much fine wine is not bought to drink…) and then enable an intelligent decision as to what to do. There is no urgent driver to sell, so that is to our advantage I believe, as my relative wouldn’t be tempted by a seductive but under-valued offer by someone unscrupulous based on an impression of desperation on the part of the seller…

Thanks again all.