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Dec 15, 2013 02:28 PM

Selling a wine collection

I have a small wine collection that we have decided it is time to part ways with. I'm not quite sure where to even start on this adventure, as my SO and I became collectors by circumstance, but tried to do things the right way (storing them horizontally, in temperature controlled environments, etc). Where do I even begin with this job? I've done a little googling and came up with a few websites, but I'm not sure if this my best route, because the collection really isn't huge (around 40 bottles or so).

Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!

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  1. You can check with the K&L wine shop in San Francisco.


    1 Reply
    1. re: DavidT

      If the other local options downthread don't work out -- and before you agree on a price if you decide to sell -- I second K&L (the auction folks are in Redwood City I think). I could be wrong, but I do suspect you'd do much better with these wines at auction rather than selling them locally. K&L charges no buyers' commission (unlike most other auction houses, which charge substantial ones) -- and this, I think, makes buyers more willing to purchase on this site, and hence may result in a good sale figure -- at least it has in my experience. My listings with K&L for the last year have sold at good figures, and for an average of 25-40 percent above the "reserve" -- some to buyers in Asia and Russia, and others to flush Silicon Valley types. (The auction reserve is the minimum figure at which you agree to sell.)

      Note for others who may not simply be looking for cash: You can even avoid the seller's commission (15 percent) if you happen to want to take your proceeds in K&L store credit, which is what I do -- thus turning things we no longer like all that much, or that have simply become too costy, into other wines that we now prefer. . . . ) -- Jake

    2. Start by letting us know what you feel are the top five bottles with vintages. We can help determine a route to take. 40 bottles is not much and will not be hard to find a home if the wines are quality.

      1. Sorry for the delay...Holiday travel interfered with real life.

        This is a slightly random sampling, but we have a couple bottles of Petrus, 1999. We also have a 1999 La Tache, a 2003 Screaming Eagle and a few different years of Opus One. I know we probably have some more wines that are more flashy than these, but we have yet to take a thorough inventory still.

        I hope this will help, and thanks again!

        1 Reply
        1. re: blueskadoo1

          If the wines you mentioned are representative of the 40 or so bottles, you have blue chip auctionables.
          To start you might check on the price auction results for the major houses on line. An email to the houses wine departments (again if the rest of your wines are on the samples order) should be answered ay lightning speed.

          1. Have you tried approaching a hotel or restaurant owner?

            2 Replies
            1. re: HillJ

              I think that in most states a restaurant would not be permitted to purchase without the wine going through a wholesaler. Even then there would be a risk without knowing the full provenance of each bottle.

              From the list, there are some treasures here. If it were my collection I would check with a local wine club if there is one nearby. Someone there may be interested, and more willing to take the gamble, or they could direct you to a buyer.

              1. re: Bigjim68

                Actually I was thinking that the owners, upper level management would be interested in the collection for their own enjoyment. I work with hotel owners sometimes and I can think of at least two who have bought private collections to add to their own collections. These folks tend to also know people interested in fine, rare bottles.