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Good wines as an investment have out performed bonds and shares during <br/>the recession, according to experts. Susan Rumfitt finds out more
Not so long ago I wrote about wine related silver, well what about collecting wine itself? With the festive season approaching should we just be thinking about what we are going to consume over the holiday period or should we be looking at it in a much more discerning way and perhaps investing in it rather than just drinking it?
Ancient Egypt is thought to be where wine was first produced with grapes from nearby regions. The wine was kept in clay containers and produced for the living as well as the dead; along with many jewels, wine containers have been discovered buried in ancient tombs.
Wine is now a product that is not only part of religious ceremonies but of course our social life; it is also thought of more often now as a worthy investment.
Recently sales in wine have been extremely buoyant. I asked Richard Harvey, Master of Wine and European Head of Wine at Bonhams Auctioneers why. He reports that wine is increasing in value because of interest from new collectors, particularly in the Far East. Top end wines, consequently, have been fetching high prices.
The weak pound has also meant that consignments sold in UK are more appealing, he adds.
If you want to consider investing in Champagne always go for top quality, well-known brands.'
So where should one start when building a wine collection? Well a good top end wine is a Mouton Rothschild which, at Bonhams, is estimated at 3,000. But sale prices range from 100 per case. Generally, red keeps longer than white so Cabernet Sauvignon and Red Bordeaux are good wines to buy.
How long should wine be left and in what condition? Just like collecting art and antiques there is a right way to approach the practice. Wine should be kept at a constant temperature, ideally from 56 to 58 degrees and humidity around 70 per cent.
When spending around 300 for a case of wine, one should look at laying it down over three or four years before drinking while the more expensive wines can take up to 15 years to mature.
At the moment wine is a good investment as according to Richard it has out performed bonds and shares. And wine is not subject to capital gains tax. This is of course good news and a reason to bring out the champagne.
But what about Champagne is it a good investment? According to Iiles Halling, of madaboutbubbly.com, who spent 10 years in the Champagne region of France: If you want to consider investing in Champagne always go for top quality, well-known brands. This is not to say that you cant find some fabulous Champagnes among lesser-known makers; its just that famous brands command a premium price and will hold their value. Invest in vintage Champagne or what are called prestige cuves such as Dom Prignon, Cristal and Krug. These Champagnes generally have longer ageing potential than non-vintage Champagnes.
So if you want to invest in wine and Champagne then seek the advice of a specialist wine merchant and if possible use their storage facilities.
If youve kept the Champagne in the garage, the kitchen or under the stairs, dont expect it to age well or fetch a good price if that sounds like you, then perhaps its better to drink your Champagne and enjoy it now!
Susan Rumfitt is a jewellery consultant and Antiques Roadshow expert.
For more information go to www.susanrumfitt.com