Every so often, I receive an email with the same general story: I have this bottle of wine and want to know what it’s worth, or they want to sell it to me. Often it includes a follow up question, what is my bottle of wine worth?
There’s a few things to go through here, but really, there is a quick answer. A single bottle of wine is basically worth nothing. No retailer that I know of, is going to buy a single bottle of wine. I don’t buy single bottles of wine and nothing in my wine clubs come from the secondary wine market. Heck, I HATE buying from distributors, let alone private individuals.
Largely this is because selling wine that is of significant age, depends largely on how the wine has been cellared and cared for. Normally, we don’t have the ability to control for temperature and humidity, for a single bottle.
Most retailers that deal with trades like these, look for larger collections, where someone wants to unload a cellar where they have properly stored their wine, for years. Or, they’re looking for a winery that has the proper storage and ability to regulate how a wine is sold on the secondary market. If you’re attempting to sell a single bottle of Bordeaux that someone gave you as a gift a few decades ago, there isn’t much of a market for that. In fact, assuming you’re keeping it in the corner of your closet like most of the folks that reach out to me, it’s probably long since gone bad (sorry!).
In reality, selling your wine is a lot like selling your car. You can easily look up guidelines, but when the question comes up What is My Bottle of Wine Worth? It’s normally less than you think and making the deal, is a hell of a lot more difficult as well.