Saturday, March 7, 2015

Selling wines from your cellar

How do you get top dollar for your wine?

You have some wines that need to find a new home or you have  come into possession of  wine you choose not to drink, what are your choices to turn these bottles into cash?  After selling some wines through different channels I have found that all ways of selling wine are not equal.  Remember that selling something involves your fixing a price and getting the price you want.  You then have to transfer the wine and get payment.  

                            DO NOT EXPECT TOP DOLLAR is an excellent source for finding the current price of your wine at the retail level.  If you sell a wine  at retail that means you gain full mark up.  Make sure your price is such that the buyer feels they are getting either a good deal or a wine which is hard to get.  

                     AUCTION HOUSES AND THEIR FEES

 All auctions need to make money from their sales and the work they perform in not only sales but advertising, delivery and payment. 

K&L Wines have an auction department that will take your wine and take a photo of it and give an impartial description based on prior evaluations from printed sources:  Parker, Decanter, Wine Spectator and other published descriptions.   They offer the seller a few options.  You can take the sale price of the wine minus 15% as the final money earned from the sale.  So $1,000  would net you $850.  You can also choose to take the final payment as a credit at the store.  So now you have $1,000 to spend but your cost of doing business is reduced by the profit margin of the wine (10-15%) and the taxes on the purchase (9%).    K&L does not charge the buyer a premium for the wine.   

Bonhams run auctions every three or four months.  They will take your wines and put them in a catalogue at an estimated  price of high and low for the lot.  If you have a large amount of wine you may also have to give up a bottle for tasting purposes which you must include in your sale price.  They also take a percentage of the sellers price for their part of advertising and promotion.  Bonhams also charges the buyer of the wines 19% above the final hammer price plus sales taxes.  This turns out to cost you almost 30% on top of the purchase price.  

                                   LOCATION OF SALES
I have sold wines in parts of Southern California which pay much more than in Northern California.  Prices for older wines vary and from my experience there is more money to be made in Southern California with both older and smaller hard to find wineries. Once again wine searcher is valuable in finding sources for wines.  

                                                            One Line Sales
Ebay and other on line sources are a way to sell but you become involved in transfer and monitary exchange.  
                                                          Private Sources
I have not done this but have friends who have sold wines to restaurants and retail stores.  These sectors need to make a profit and often do not offer higher dollar amounts for older and rare wines.  There are retailers of wine who will buy wines in high demand but they need to make a profit. They are also cautious about how the wine was handled and how it was obtained. I know of people who have taken dinners in exchange for wine at restaurants.  This works for both parties if both agree. 

                                           Prepare  Yourself

Establish a price that you will sell your wine for.   Research and find a source that will accept your wine and give you documentation as to the minimum you will accept and a time table as to when the wine will appear for sale.  If selling at retail make sure the buyer is solvent and of solid reputation.  Be prepared to be told that your wines are not worth as much as you feel they are worth.   In the end it your choice to make as to what you will accept as your final payment.   Good luck….


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