Buying wine at auction
Wine shops charge a premium for older offerings, so if you’re going to buy older vintages, your best bet is the auction game. However, the Internet has transformed the once provincial nature of wine retailing; there’s nothing you can’t find with a couple of clicks.
Live auctions are exhilarating and stressful. It is common to go into an auction with a bidding strategy, but it’s tough to stick to those parameters once the game gets under way. The stress of an important auction can get so overwhelming that one might prefer to send in absentee bids and find out how they did the next day!
Auction buyers need three things: dedication, discipline and decisiveness.
Because catalogues at auctions can be the size of a store catalogue with a catalogue record being 245 pages and having nearly 2000 lots to consider.
Because it’s easy to get caught up in the drama of the action in the room.
Because you’ve got to establish a game plan and a budget, either for each lot or for a grand total; but stick to it.
A little warning:
Most auctioneers charge a substantial subscription fee for their catalogue and the quoted estimates don’t include the buyers’ premium, mandatory insurance, storage fees, tax or delivery. The more descriptive the storage section is regarding a bid the better, although you will never really know, it is a good idea to inspect the wine bought at auction before taking possession of it and you are entitled to.
Bonhams & Butterfields
Morrel & Co.
The Chicago wine Company
Hart Davis Hart
Acker, Merrall & Condit