For motivated enthusiasts who enjoy consuming, sharing and learning about fine wine, it’s a natural place to invest some of your disposable income. “The dynamics for investors are pretty compelling right now, especially viewed over the long term,” says Benchmark Wine Group CEO Dave Parker. “Wine tends to appreciate more than stocks.”
As the largest distributor of rare wine in the country—with an inventory of more than 70,000 bottles (representing 10,000 wines), including many older vintages—Benchmark is in an excellent position to help guide you in your journey. Here, Parker offers insight into what to consider.
“A fine wine’s value will increase and decrease over time, as with other commodity investments,” says Parker. “Key factors that affect wine prices include supply and demand. Scarcity is definitely a stimulant for a wine’s market value, provided the wine has a top-quality reputation to build on.” Additionally, vintages also affect price; some vintages are more expensive than others, and those with favorable harvest conditions attract higher prices. Age is also a factor in value, and age-worthy wines increase in value over time. Parker continues, “Keep an eye on the economy too, as wine prices will generally flow with other economic trends.”
Highly rated wines are generally more investment-worthy. Scores are the quickest and simplest way for a wine critic to communicate their opinion about the quality of a wine, and Benchmark Wine Group provides professional reviews as a courtesy to assist customers when making a purchase. Most critics specialize in a specific growing region and often show preference for certain styles of wine.
Perks of Pedigree
Only a small portion of wines are considered investment-worthy. Benchmark specializes in these exceptionally rare and tough-to-acquire wines. Parker notes that while the Grand Cru wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy have long dominated the high-end market, wines from other regions are now gaining traction.
“When it comes to perennial values, California always delivers,” he says. “You could have bought California at any time through the years and seen a healthy increase.” Parker also notes that there’s special value to be had in the Golden State at the moment, because after a couple of large harvests, followed by the sudden halt of restaurant and tasting-room sales, there’s an over-abundance of wine.
When it comes to collectible wines, brand matters too. Long-established winemakers with a stable record of price appreciation that spans at least a decade tend to be better bets. “Stick to the classics,” advises Parker. Also, well-known winery labels with prestige increase the chances of having a strong secondary market.
Benchmark’s team of trained cellar experts can work with you to curate an investment-worthy wine collection from an unparalleled stock of fine and rare wines. Among the recent illustrious offerings are The Acclaimed Cellar, culled from esteemed producers and fueled by exceptional taste from some of the most coveted wineries in France, Italy and California; and The Magnifique Cellar, featuring some of the most desirable expressions of French vinification, highlighting notable bottlings of Champagne, Burgundy and the New World.
The bottom line: Wine is a good investment. Parker urges collectors to buy what they like, what they know and what they enjoy discovering. “Wine appreciates and holds its value just as well or better in a good year, and doesn’t depreciate anywhere near as much in a bad year,” says Parker. “And you can always drink it in the end.”