Buy low, sell high, the saying goes. And don't forget to take advantage of the downturn if you can. I wrote two months ago about how now is a good time to buy wine. The auction markets continue to soften, as my buddy Eric Asimov noted recently.
It also occurs to me, however, that if you were in the habit of or aspire to buy high-end wine, now might also be a great time to get on top winery mailing lists.
The most sought after wines in America are sold almost exclusively to their mailing list customers. Getting on these lists is an exercise in patience and determination, as there is often a long waiting list before you get on the list itself, which gives you the option of buying the wine.
Here's how these lists work. The longer you are on the list, the more wine you are offered to buy. But in order to stay on the list, as well as to get the opportunity to buy more wine (or to buy the specific wine you want) you generally have to buy the wines that are offered to you. The more you buy, the more you are offered next time, and the more chance you have to buy what you really want.
But if you fail to buy your allocation, you slip in the rankings, or sometimes are even booted off the list entirely. Then someone from below you gets offered your wine, and then someone below them moves up, and so on and so forth until you get to the bottom of the list and, presto, someone gets on from the waiting list.
Getting the opportunity to buy highly allocated wines off of a mailing list can take ages. However, because moving through the waiting list onto the main list generally happens only when people fail to buy their allocations, the chances are much better in times when people aren't buying so much expensive wine.
Which, of course, would be right about now.
I'm guessing that there will be more people than usual deciding to skip their biannual purchase of big ticket wines (which assuredly have not dropped in price), which will mean that lots of people will be getting the opportunity to buy that haven't had that opportunity before.
Of course, for the really sought-after wines, it's not people that sign up now that will be getting to buy wine, it's people that signed up a year ago, or two years ago, or in some cases 5 years ago.
But if buying such wines is your thing, you'll move along the list a lot faster, I'm betting, if your name is on it right about now.
If you take my advice and jump on a list and get access to some fabulous wine, feel free to send me a bottle.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Acid Freaks Unite: Highlights From the 2015 IPOB Tasting Vinography Images: A Brief Oasis Going Dry In California Off to Taste Champagne! Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 5, 2015 Vinography Images: The Color of Spring Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 29, 2015 Vinography Images: Waves of Vines Tempranillo (and Gang) TAPAS Tasting: April 26, San Francisco A Man, An Island, and a Bottle of Grüner: The Wines of Rudi Pichler
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune