The sale of fine wines has grown substantially in Britain over the last few decades. As people become more knowledgeable about wine and have a higher disposable income, fine wines have become a popular choice to invest in. Fine wines are more expensive than any other food and drink category. At the highest end of the market, they sell for thousands of pounds per bottle. These wines are seen as a good investment because not only does the product improve over time, but also the demand for the wine increases rather than decrease as its price rises.
The most commonly collected wines are usually those from Bordeaux, some distinguished wine brands from California, Champagne and of course vintage port. Disregarding the fortified wines (port, sherry, madeira and others) and sticking to those that are regular wines, there are several characteristics which are taken into account: the wine needs to have a proven track record of keeping well over a period of time; it must start with an exceptionally good grape harvest and a carefully executed blend of additives; it needs to have a long maturity period – so that no matter how long it is kept for, the wine still tastes great; and there needs to be a consensus amongst experts that the wine is of fantastic quality and therefore worth investing in.
There is a word of warning to take note of though – when buying fine wine, watch out for criminals and fraudsters. As investment in fine wines has grown, so have the scams associated with it. Such schemes include charging excessively high prices for off-vintage or lower status wines from famous wine regions or counterfeiting of labels. This is something to look out for at auctions, where it is easier to get away with such practices.
So how do you spot a fine wine? Well, one clue is to look at its vintage. The vintage is the year in which the wine was grown. A good quality red wine matures well, and can improve its flavour through aging, so this is where a fine wine starts. After it has been kept and aged by wine enthusiasts and buyers, it can turn into a fine wine. Remember, as the product improves and the price rises, so does the demand for the wine.
Most independent online wine retailers provide a fine wine service. Here you will find a selection of fine wines from all of the world’s greatest estates. Many of these services employ experts who can give you helpful advice on what to buy, when to open, how to serve the wine or any other aspects of fine wines.
Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years. For a knowledgeable, friendly service and for advice on buying fine wines.