I'll admit it. At various times over the years, I've flirted with the idea of seriously investing in wine. Not just buying a case or two of blue-chip wines and locking them in my basement. I even went so far as to discuss with a friend of mine in the financial services industry what it would take to put together a wine investment fund.
I know that such things have been done, some of them even by people who weren't criminals. But every time I got close, I eventually got spooked. I probably didn't have the self-confidence to pull it off. When it comes to real investing, I'm rather conservative in my approach -- not risk-averse -- I just want to know exactly what I'm investing in, and how it works, from the fundamentals to the specifics.
It turns out that while there was a chance I would have made money, I most likely would have lost a boatload in the process. At least, that's what I'm taking from this remarkably candid and cogent article by a millionaire wine investor in Barron's.
The author, Thomas O. Ryder, followed a prototypical journey to becoming a serious wine collector, from the starting bottles of Blue Nun and Thunderbird to buying Petrus by the case, back when you could get it for $50 a bottle. Ryder, who is a successful publishing executive and sits on several boards, including notably, Amazon.Com's, even made some money selling a few cases of such fortuitous purchases. In 2007, he unloaded a few hundred bottles at Sotheby's for $2 Million.
But, as he goes on to write, that might as well have been a different universe. His most recent selection of a few hundred bottles that he delivered to the auction house were estimated to bring in a paltry $100,000 or so.
The fine wine marketplace has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, and Ryder goes on to outline quite clearly what has happened.
It's a well written article, and worth reading, even if you've never imagined buying wine for an investment. And if you have, well then this should disabuse you of the notion once and for all.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Drinking Time Itself: The Champagnes of Anselme Selosse The Great Prosecco Crisis of 2015 Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 17th, 2015 Vinography Images: Up in Flames California's Other Seven Percent Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 10, 2015 Vinography Images: Spring Dreams Tasting One Man's Experience: The Champagnes of Agrapart et Fil Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 4, 2015 Vinography Images: A Shaggy Guardian
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