Wines & Spirits

The collectability of wine and spirits is often down to vintage and rarity. When buying investment wines, the ideal vintages are those that are known to hold their taste over a long period of time. 

Bordeaux and Burgundy wines are two of the most frequently collected wines but bottles are sometimes purchased because of their links to historic events or previous owners. Famous wine collectors include Thomas Jefferson, Alex Ferguson and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Since the 1990’s the market for fine and rare wine has grown due in part to increasing demand from Asia.


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A real corker! Harvey's Wine Museum Sale

04 October 2003

FOR Harvey's read Bristol Cream, but there is far more to this celebrated brand than the nation’s best known sherry.

Wooldings is best of British

30 May 2003

It was a poignant irony that the contents of the North Hampshire vineyard that had so impressed Her Majesty should come up for auction in the same month that another offering of Château Mouton-Rothschild was making a less than favourable impression with the British establishment.

Mouton-Rothschild, the gift for a ‘friend’

30 May 2003

Clearly Tony Blair would be best advised to take round a bottle of Wooldings ’94, rather than Mouton ’89 the next time he pops over to the Palace for dinner. As has been widely reported in the media, the Prime Minister recently received half a case of Château Mouton-Rothschild’s 1989 vintage as a 50th birthday present from President Jacques Chirac.

Wine and candleglow begin to stir bidders in long subdued market

08 May 2003

LOOKING back on spring to see what green shoots of recovery might be discernible, a rather unexpected contender for the category turns out to be silver. Obviously, silver starts any recovery from a pretty low and long-standing trough but some of the results round the country certainly indicated that there was more than just auctioneers’ wishful thinking behind the optimistic comments.

Claret lives up to dealer’s high hopes

08 May 2003

THE move towards better prices for silver took Cumbrian auctioneers Penrith Farmers' & Kidd's rather by surprise at their 1125-lot quarterly catalogue sale on March 26 (15% buyer's premium inc. VAT) – although it was a wine-related item which did the honours and these do have their own buoyant market.

What a corker!

28 February 2003

The now-defunct firm of Hedges & Butler (est.1667) was one of the oldest wine merchants in England, originally based by the Thames on a site now occupied by Charing Cross Station. The name of the company has now disappeared, but what its own publicity described as “our very interesting collection of old Viniana” provided an eye-catching highlight for Bonhams’ (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) otherwise fairly routine mixed sale of art and antiques in Knowle.

This was their finest year…

28 February 2003

If, as a recent opinion poll has suggested, Sir Winston Churchill was voted the greatest-ever Briton, and Mouton-Rothschild’s 1945 vintage is, as Michael Broadbent described it in his Great Vintage Wine Book, “a Churchill of a wine”, is Mouton-Rothschild ’45, ergo, the Greatest Ever Wine?

Mixing grape and grain

28 August 2002

With tarriffs and subsidies yet again a hot political topic, it was appropriate that this wine label caused such a stir at Woolley and Wallis’ Salisbury salerooms on July 17.

Christie’s hold their first Paris wine sale

23 July 2002

After 236 years of auctioning wine in London and other international centres, Christie’s will be holding their inaugural sale of fine wines in Paris on September 14.

Burgundy is still booming

16 November 2001

To prove the point, Christie’s have held their first ever ‘Transatlantic’ wine auction. Dubbed the International Burgundy Sale, this 973-lot auction of the region’s most prestigious wines was offered in two legs, the first 303 lots in an afternoon session at Zachy’s/Christie’s (10% buyer’s premium) in New York on October 30, the remaining 670 the following evening at Christie’s (10% buyer’s premium) King Street on November 1.

Welsh on the rocks

24 October 2001

Like English haggis and Scotch rarebit, the idea of Welsh Whisky is somewhat dubious. A few years ago a Welsh bottling company began to market a product called Welsh Whisky, which won praise from American connoisseurs but was just Scotch whisky in disguise.The company subsequently ceased trading.

Holy Loch water turned to whisky

15 October 2001

Manufacturing expertise and a fondness for the hard stuff are notable traits among Scottish folk, and they were well married in this miniature copper whisky still, pictured, offered by Glasgow auctioneers McTear’s (10 per cent buyer’s premium) on September 11.

Why small is beautiful...

12 October 2001

“For the really top things there’s no shortage of buyers, but the middle ground is weaker,” affirmed Stephen Mould of Sotheby’s wine department. “If you’ve got large parcels that depend on the trade, then bidders are more cautious. But if you’ve got small quantities of the finest things there are plenty of private buyers prepared to pay good money.”

Flowing, but not freely…

08 June 2001

Apart from a few isolated surprises for cult rarities, Sotheby’s and Christie’s recent wine sales on both sides of the Atlantic bore out this sense of a market in a state of suspended animation.

Modish in Manhattan

01 May 2001

Every sector of the auction market has been feeling jittery about the prospect of economic slowdown in the US. Wine sales have already had to re-adjust to more sober trading conditions after the binge of sales that led up to Millennium and auctioneers on both sides of the Atlantic have been understandably nervous about rich clients thinking that $5000 cases of wine have become an unjustifiable luxury.

Booming burgundy!

26 March 2001

BACK IN the mid-1990s, when Far Eastern buyers were sending prices through the roof and people were (supposedly) stocking up for their Millennium parties, fine wine was one of the most excitingly volatile of all auction markets.

Recession proof?

19 February 2001

US: RECENT jitters about the health of the US economy have had a noticeably negative effect on several sectors of the international auction market. The US wine market, however, seems to be relatively untouched as yet.

A little early in the year to pop the corks

22 January 2001

FINE wine is one of those areas of the auction market which is bound to catch a cold if the world economy sneezes into recession or slowdown over the coming months. Higher than usual unsold rates at recent auctions in London and New York would suggest that buyers are already taking a more selective view of the wine market.

50-year-old Macallan malt whiskey

04 September 2000

While Thai and Chinese businessmen splashed out on bottles of Pomerol 61 and Romanee-Conti 85 in the years leading up to the crash of the Tiger economies in the late 1990s, Japanese captains of industry were impressing their corporate friends with equally expensive bottles of Scotch, which they would crack open after work and down in one sitting.

It's official: wine is good for you...

05 April 1999

...but it's still bad for you US: HOT news from health-conscious America. After years of campaigning from pro-winers, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has agreed to allow the words DO CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT THE BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF DRINKING WINE to be added to the back label, as well as the statutory health warning. So now it’s official. Not only is wine bad for you, but it’s good for you as well.

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