NZ wine auctions – wine for investment
Buying wine for investment in this country is a risky business because it is difficult to sell profitably. I have a collection of vintage ports from 1980, 1983 and 1985 that are taking up room in my cellar. The most I paid for any of them was around $35 but I was reluctant to sell them at auction for the estimated $100 a bottle (less seller’s premium). Instead, I’ve been opening the odd bottle at dinner parties, which at least gives me a chance to use my port tongs.
We have three active wine auction houses that I am aware of. Mossgreen-Webb’s in Auckland (was Webb’s until it merged with the large Australian auction house, Mossgreen), Fitz-Gerald Wine in Albany north of Auckland and Dunbar Sloane in Wellington.
I checked out their upcoming wine auctions quite recently and was surprised by the depth of wines on offer. Buyer’s premium does vary from house to house.
- Mossgreen-Webb’s is the highest at 17.5% plus GST
- Dunbar Sloan is close behind with 17% plus GST
- Fitz-Gerald Wine is the lowest at 15% + GST
If you wish to pay by credit card expect to pay a premium of 2.5% for VISA and Mastercard or 4% for AMEX, at least that’s the case for Mossgreen-Webb’s and I assume the others have a similar arrangement.
Annoyingly, only one of the houses, Fitz-Gerald Wine, shows historic auction catalogues with prices paid alongside the original estimate. However, that did give me a chance to check the wines offered and see what they fetched.
The most expensive wine on offer was 2005 Lafite with an estimate of $1500 and a sale price of $1200 (it’s available at United Cellars for a retail price of $3650).
1998 Te Mata Coleraine (tastings) fetched $189, higher than the estimate of $160. I brought three cases when it was released and paid around $35 from memory. I’ve still got a few bottles left. Good investment? Possibly, but you have to deduct the seller’s premium, which I couldn’t find on Fitz-Gerald Wine’s website.
Perusing auction catalogues has whetted my appetite. I’ve now registered with all three auction houses and will almost certainly pick up a few bottles from time to time. It seems to be a buyer’s market … at least until the buyer’s wife finds out.