Buying fine and rare wines at an auction is an excellent idea if you are a wine connoisseur. You will get access to a lot more variants than what you would usually find in a retail wine store. The stock is acquired from the choicest vineyards and private sellers, and you can acquire them at rates lower than the retail prices. If you have questions like “how do you buy wine at an auction?” here is a guide to help you out.
1. Reason for Buying
It would help if you had clear reasons as to the purpose of buying your wine. There are several variants of wine at an auction, and if you do not have clear objectives, it becomes very overwhelming rather than a pleasurable experience.
Do you want to stock up on your inventory? Are you thinking of creating a more versatile cellar? Is there a momentous occasion you want to mark in your life with wine, or are you merely thinking of wine as an investment to get returns later? The answers to all these questions will determine the kind of wine you should concentrate on.
2. Get Familiar with the Catalog
Studying the wine catalog is an art- more so at a wine auction. The catalogs provide all the information about the impending sale. You should read all the information and the catalog instructions as they provide great insight into the bidding process. It will tell you about the wines stored in professional and humidity-controlled cellars instead of wines stored in traditional, natural cellars.
It will also tell you about temperature fluctuations on the wines and the bottles’ ullage levels. The space between the cork of the bottle and the wine inside it is a marker of the wine’s quality. You will know what to look for in various wines depending on how this space looks. The wine’s age will result in its quality, and you will come to know of these and many other pieces of information from the catalog.
3. Get an Idea About the Value of the Wine
Before you come to the auction, get an idea about the prices of the variety you are most interested in buying. Cross-check prices across various retail houses and the earlier prices for which it was sold at the auction. Usually, a previous auction will reveal the prices of about 10,000 cellar-worthy wines and help you form an idea about the prevailing rates. However, do not expect to find a bargain all the time. Most wines sold at the auction have a reserve, and the wine cannot be sold under a particular price. So it is ideal for keeping an open mind.
4. Bid Smartly
It is a good idea to enter the bid at the last moment, just when the principal bidder thinks they have secured the wine. However, you should keep your emotions in check and prevent yourself from overspending.
If you want to drink the wine you have acquired at the bidding, then you might get good deals on wine if the label is a little torn or if the casket is faulty. Since you will not present it or resell it, the packaging’s external flaws would not matter. You should also get a reasonable price if you go for an assortment of wines.
5. Calculate Supplementary Costs
Apart from what you pay at the bidding, there are some hidden costs as well. Some charges are added to the final costs stated in the catalog. If you are buying from a major auction house, you may have to pay a buyer’s premium as high as 20 to 24% of the winning bid.
Then, of course, you also need to pay for the taxes, insurance, and shipping charges that will add about another 15%. So in all, you might have to pay anywhere around $500 to $1000 extra to get the wine inside your cellar.
To know more about “how do you buy wine at an auction?” you should attend one in person the first time, without actually bidding. You will get to experience many
nuances first hand which you might not have known about before. Entry to almost all commercial wine auctions is free, and if you want to opt for a pre-sale wine tasting, that will cost you around $50 or so. It is a great way to gain insight into the bidding process and know about more kinds of wine, paving the way for your auction bid in the future.