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Valuing Wine with Wine Merchants and Wine Brokers

Speaking with an industry professional from a reputable wine merchant or broker is often a great way to value your wine. It’s a lot easier (and much less time consuming) than trawling through various websites to source wine values to estimate and value wine yourself. Most good wine merchants and wine brokers that are interested in purchasing investment-grade wines would be happy to provide a free wine valuation, so you should never have to pay for this service. 

It is worth being aware that, unfortunately, in recent times there have been a number of companies and individuals that are taking advantage of wine collectors and investors. Therefore, we can’t stress enough how important it is that you do your due diligence before reaching out for a wine valuation or proceeding with selling your wine. For more information on checking a company is legitimate and how to avoid getting scammed check out our article Fine Wine Investment Scams – Don’t be a victim. A quick way to know if a company is trustworthy is reading reviews or previous customers feedback and ratings. Reviews on Google or independent customer feedback websites, such as Trustpilot or Feefo, are a good method to check that a company is reliable, genuine and offers good customer service.

Finding reliable wine valuations can be tricky and there are a few things you should aware of, so we’ve written the following article that aims to guide you through it.

Getting A Wine Valuation from a Wine Merchant or Wine Broker

Once you have researched the company and are satisfied they’re an authentic wine broker or merchant, you will need to contact them directly via phone or email to receive a wine valuation. Generally speaking, most wine valuations are calculated by sourcing the current retail value by checking websites like Wine Searcher or Liv-ex. These sites display various wine merchants, brokers and traders stock lists so the price of your wine will typically be taken from a merchant or broker with that particular wine in stock. Find prices this way can be slow and not always accurate. As a result, it may take a while for you to receive a valuation, thus becoming outdated and uncompetitive.

If you’re unsure about the accuracy a wine price you been given then you should ask where they sourced it from and try to verify it yourself.

Along with doing your due diligence on whether a company is genuine and reliable, we would highly recommend that you receive valuations and quotations from as many sources as possible. This will ensure that you will get the best idea of what your wine is worth, and then if you’re thinking of selling your wine, get the best possible price too. However, when receiving wine quotations to sell your wine there are a few things to consider as not all are clear and transparent.

Market Value: Most wine merchants and brokers will usually quote the market value of the wine, not what you would receive if you were to sell your wine. This way, the price will seem more attractive. This is perfect if you’re looking for a wine valuation but maybe not be clear that this price doesn’t include their commission. Remember, the market value is what the wine is currently being sold it for, not how much they are willing to buy it for.

Commission: “Here at [insert wine broker name here] we would be happy to trade your wine(s) with our 0% brokerage fee!” Sounds great, doesn’t it? Some wine merchants and wine brokers state they can offer 0% commission to buy your wine, however, doing so would mean they’re providing a totally free service for finding a buyer for your wines. This would be great but it’s unrealistic.

When companies offer a 0% commission for their service, there are a few possibilities as to how they can achieve this.

  • They are valuing your fine wine far below its true market value. It can be anywhere between 10-20% less, depending on the wine. This way, it seems they are offering a 0% brokerage fee however the overall valuation for your wines will be 10-20% lower than its true worth so they’ll make their profit by selling it on at its real value.
  • Reinvestment schemes. So there’s no brokerage fee and the valuation of your wines are accurate? Sounds promising. All you have to do is ‘reinvest’ the money made into some different wines. This isn’t ideal if you’re looking to get out of investing in wine and through further inspection, it will become clear that these wines could either be much less sought-after than the wines you were selling, the wines they’re trying to convince you to reinvest into are overpriced, or they add on high management or storage fees so make their profit in one of these ways. It may not be a ‘scam’ but it’s not far off a swindle.
  • Additional Costs: Often, Wine Merchants and Wine Brokers fail to mention at first any additional costs or fees involved. We would highly recommend that you carefully read through their terms and conditions before proceeding to sell your wine in order to make sure you’re fully aware of all any extra fees mentioned in the small print.

In some instances, a broker may offer a low commission (<5%), however, we’ve heard stories from client’s that were promised a specific price only for them to later come back claiming they can’t sell it at that price or the value has decreased so they sold it for less than what was agreed. It’s quite possible that their claim is legitimate, however, the wine shouldn’t have been sold at the new price without informing you. Make sure you read their T&Cs to ensure there’s not a clause like this in there and confirm the price they quoted is the final price you will receive and they won’t sell it for less without your permission.

Logistics/Storage Fees and Insurance: Some merchants and wine brokers will cover additional costs for things like logistics and storage, however, others won’t. You may be expected to pay for transporting or having the wine collected/transferred to your broker, insurance, condition checks and storage. Confirm if this is included in your quotation or will be deducted before agreeing to sell wine with your chosen broker.

How are we different?

We want to empower our clients by offering and sharing impartial, independent advice and knowledge. We believe by providing this knowledge and complete transparency of our services it allows you to consider all the information and make a well-informed judgement and decision when the time comes to sell your wine

From start to finish, we aim to provide as much transparency as possible. In just a few minutes our online Wine Valuation and Quotation Tool will provide you with an instant valuation and quotation that includes the live market price, as well as, an indication of what you could receive for your wine. This comes in the form of a Cash Offer and a Broking Offer that is displayed as the final amount you would receive; with no further costs or fees to be deducted. We will also cover all costs, including collection or warehouse transfer, insurance, condition reports and storage. 

A Cash Offer is a price we would agree on for your wines to be purchased outright. This value is likely to be slightly less than the Broking Offer but the process is extremely quick and efficient, providing payment within 1 working day upon receipt of a satisfactory condition report. A Broking Offer is where we would source a buyer on your behalf to purchase the wines to achieve the price quoted. Once a sale has been made you will be notified and we will pay you within 28 days from this point. Read more about our selling wine service.

To ensure our wine valuations and quotations are extremely accurate they are generated by using live market pricing data from our own bespoke database of wine values, which are then cross-referenced with wine prices from Wine-Searcher and Liv-ex. After receiving your indicative quotation online our Purchasing Team will expertly verify the initial prices we supplied and will respond with a confirmed quotation that will be valid for 14 days. Read more about how our wine valuations are generated.

The Author

Chris Threadgold