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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.

            2. I'm back with a full list of our wines. It's actually only 34 bottles...it looks like so much more in all those little wine fridges. I've contacted one auction house, but have not heard anything from them yet. I'm grateful for input about what might be the rockstar bottles or how much you guys might think the entirety is worth.

              Grand Vin de Chateau Latour 95
              Ace of Spades Champagne no year
              Opus One 1994
              Opus One 1999
              Opus Magnum 2006 & 2007
              Bryant family 2001
              Chateau d'yquem 85 1/2 bottle desert wine
              Sessicala Tenuta San Guido 1985 (2 bottles)
              Krug Chmapagne 1996 (2 bottles)
              Grand Echezeaux 2006 & 2004
              Romanee St. Viviant 2002
              Chateau Beaucastel 2005 Hommage a Jaques Perrin
              Screaming Eagle 2002 & 2008
              Petrus 1996, 1999, 1999, & 2003
              Harlan Estate 1990, 2004, 2006
              Heitz cellars 1999
              La Tache 1999, 2004 and 2004.
              Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1995 & 2000
              Sloan 2007
              Bouchard Pere et Fils 2002
              Pensfolds Grange 2006

              1 Reply
              1. re: blueskadoo1

                This idea is a long shot.

                Since you are in Georgia, you may want to contact the wine manager at the Augusta National Golf Club by phone or letter. AGNC is reputed to have an excellent wine cellar and may have an interest in purchasing your collection.

                Then again, they may refuse to take you phone call or not answer your letter.