Vine Details: So You Want to Start Your Own Wine Collection? Here are Some Things to Consider - Lifestyle Asia

“Some people collect wine to consume while others do so as another egg in their investment portfolio. But not all wines are created equal.”

“The best wine is the one you enjoy.“ A winery owner told me this while we were having dinner at Flower Drum Melbourne during Formula 1 weekend. I was very young back then and just starting to appreciate wines and initially felt intimidated with its vast offerings compared to my then drink of choice, scotch.

READ ALSO: Wide Appreciation: 4 Kinds Of Wine To Expand Your Horizons

The earliest traces of wine was seen in China around 7000 BC, but it is acknowledged that its birthplace was in Georgia in 6000 BC. Its westward spread is credited to the Phoenicians who created city-states on the Mediterranean coast, which you now know as Lebanon and Syria. 

The heavy association of wine with religious practices was one of the reasons that promoted its growth and survival. The art of winemaking, which was once a closely guarded secret by religious sects and ruling families in Egypt and Sumeria, was democratized in Ancient Rome. There, they started planting vineyards in garrisons to ensure they had a steady local supply.

The wine you enjoyed today is the offspring of sacramental wine made better. This gave rise to viniculture in different parts of Europe, which is referred to as Old-World wines. Spanish settlers in America in the time of Columbus attempted to grow vines, which later on gave birth to New World wines in the Americas and Oceania. 

Why collect? 

Like people collecting supercars and expensive watches, wine collecting has become a discreet passion project for Filipinos. But unlike watches and cars, which you can continually use and sell later, collecting wines is finite. After you drink and enjoy it, it’s gone. 

Some people collect wine to consume while others do so as another egg in their investment portfolio. But not all wines are created equal. In fact, there are several factors for you to consider when you decide to be a serious wine collector.

According to Jean Philippe Guillot, general manager of AWC Philippines/Winedrop.life and one of the Dr. Wine owners, most collectors start as someone who just loves vino. They enjoy a bottle during a momentous occasion and to keep some to have on another milestone. 

Guillot is collecting for his twin daughters six bottles each per year for him to give them when they turn 18. He believes that this would be a special gift , whether they decide to drink or turn it into an investment.

He mentions that most investment grade wines come from the regions of Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, Tuscany, and sometimes Napa and Rioja. This is because of the terroir, a French word that combines soil, climate site, and tradition. In terms of price, the range is vast. 

From left: Jean Philippe Guillot; Guillot’s most expensive bottle in his arsenal is the Chateau de Laubade BA Collection Vintage 1898 500ml with a price range of P230K

Since wine value increases over a long period, most experts agree that, at a minimum, don’t expect to pay less than $30 for a well-rated bottle.

Collectors would also need to consider other factors such as storage, insurance, and of 

course, its provenance. You have two options in terms of storage: to cellar them yourself or store it with a professional storage facility. Some wine brokers offer this service as well. In the Philippines, Premium Wine Exchange offers storage at P3,500 per square foot per month. 

Other considerations

One of the downsides of wine collecting is that it’s easy to be a victim of fraud. You must buy from a reputable source to have a good relationship with your specialty shop or wine broker. Guillot, who worked as a wine broker in Hong Kong, compared a wine broker to your financial planner. 

The broker must know enough about your preference to offer good buys that will appeal to you. You also need to consider your brokers’ accessibility and, of course, reputation.

Some serious collectors opt to buy from the wineries or in-person auctions. There are also online resources. Online auction sites such as Spectrum Wine Auctions, VinFolio, or the online wine exchange, but you would have to deal with taxes and import duties as well.

According to VinFolio, there are several reasons why you should start selling your collection. Your taste might have changed, or you might simply want other flavors. You might also need space for new acquisitions, or more funds to upgrade. 

Your bottles might also have reached their peak maturity, the point when it has the most potential to fetch a good price. 

Tasting notes

Deep, Brick red and Dark color with endless and spicy ending with a hint of truffles, black currant, mint, and pepper. Intense and seductive to the nose and has a full-bodied, well-structured complex and silky tannins taste.

This is the tasting notes of the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold in history. The 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which fetched $558,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in 2018. 

The 46 bottle collection from 1970 to 2016 of Mouton Rothschild

In Manila, there is no scarcity of good, investment quality wine. In fact, in Guillot’s Winedrop.life website, you can order a P85,000 bottle of Château Haut a Ruon, a rare white Bordeaux, from an outstanding terroir and classified in 1855 as a Grand Cru Classe or in short one of the most expensive wines in the world.

Everything about wine is personal. No one can impose their taste on you. In the end, one will eventually drink it. Just like life, you cannot judge it by its appearance alone. You need to taste, smell, and share it with those you love to maximize the investment.

This story originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of Lifestyle Asia.

Banner Photo by Reagan M. on Unsplash

Download this month's LIFESTYLE ASIA digital copy from:
Order your print copy of this month's LIFESTYLE ASIA Magazine:
Subscribe via [email protected]