Having been in the wine business for more than 30 years wine futures have been the rage for many years. A number of wineries offer futures in the spring following the harvest. When buying a future you put your money up first and order what you feel you want to consume. Many California wineries offer their top wines and suggest that the future price is a big saving over the release price. Generally speaking futures are at the upper end of the wine dollar scale and involve wines which need to be in barrel for well more than a year. Bordeaux in years past were actually a good deal but the market has grown so quickly world wide that they for the most part they are out of the average wine buyers pocket book. However smaller wineries offer their better wines as futures and if you like their varietals and wine making style you would do well to purchase a case or so.
A major issue in buying futures is knowing your wine store or merchant. Your money is tied up for more than a year before you get your wine. What happens if the store closes or goes bankrupt? Who do you contact? In your reciept you should know who is selling the future to your store and be able to contact them in the event the store closes. They should be able to inform you as to when the wine arrives and how you can pick it up. The merchant makes very little on futures and does this more as a service to the customer.
The advantage of buying futures is you can accumulate a series of years of the same property. You are likely to save money on the release price. You often can get the wine in different sized bottles: half bottles, fifths, magnums, double magnums or larger. Wine futures are for those people who are fully invested in a type of wine and see a future in buying the wine young and letting it mature in their cellar. Another way of looking at futures is buying wine in the year of your anniversary or the year of your childs birth. What better way to celebrate than to open a wine from the year of a special event.
A way of saving money is to buy futures as part of a group. This way you are not getting a full case and still get the opportunity of owning a great wine. You must remember you are buying the wine unfinished and there are changes that do happen. Always look for a top producer with a good track record. Good hunting.