Why Selling Your Wine by Season Gives You Higher Wine Investment Profits

Wine Investment Profits

Wine sales usually increase in the spring, which is why selling past vintages in April and May gives you higher profits. Photo Credit: Wikimedia CC user Dennis Jarvis

 I can sometimes go months without buying more than a bottle or two of fine wine, but in November and in April, like clockwork, I buy multiple cases within the span of a few weeks. It turns out that I’m not alone; most of the collectors I know tend to binge on fine wine purchases in the late fall and early spring. This is when bottles are safest to ship, and fall purchases also set up collectors for the holiday season, with its gifting and parties. For this reason, you stand to make the greatest wine investment profits possible when you wait to sell your wine during these two seasons. Doing so gives you a deeper pool of buyers than you would have during the “off season,” and those buyers are often willing to spend more on full cases.

Weather Impacts Bottles

The primary reason collectors wait to buy fine wine until the fall and early spring is because poor weather conditions can cause spoilage, especially in older wines. As a wine ages, its flavors become more delicate, and the cork itself begins to weaken. Unless the wine is kept under ideal storage temperatures (55 degrees) and shipped using these same temperature controls, the wine could cook in the summer heat, or the frigid winter could shut its flavor development down.

A 1978 Leoville Las Cases might have spent its entire life in the perfect storage warehouse, but if you ship it to a buyer in the middle of July, the cork will likely expand and contract in the heat, resulting in an oxidized wine. When this happens, you could lose all or most of your profits because your buyer will likely send the wine back for a refund.

Shipping wine during months of extreme weather is especially bad for wine when long shipping delays occur. I once found a case of traditional Sangiovese from Tuscany selling online from a private seller for an absolute steal. I bought the case a few days after my birthday in late July, thinking it would arrive within the week. However, one week later, I received a message from the shipping company informing me that my wine would be delayed due to a shipping mix-up. It took nearly three weeks for my wine case to arrive, and by that time, three of the bottles had spoiled in the hot shipping warehouse. The experience made me wish I had never ordered the wine in the first place.

Some sellers will cut their wine prices in half in order to attract buyers who normally would avoid buying wine in the summer or winter. If you want to sell your wine for its true value, consider offering it only when the weather is mild and you can get speedy shipments. Some selling platforms can ship wine to your customers within as little as three days, which will make your wine a more attractive option than the same wine being sold with less timely shipping options.

A Guide to Selling Wine By Season

Typically, August and January are the worst times of the year to sell wine. In August, wine sales drop by more than 10 percent worldwide, and a similar dip happens in January. Most collectors buy the bulk of their wine in November, however, you’ll also notice a slight uptick in sales during April and May. I recommend that you prep your bottles for sale in October and again in April, then sell your bottles the following month, in November and May, respectively. Here are the wines you should primarily sell during each season:

Focus on Champagne in November

Champagne and sparkling wine sales increase shortly before the winter holiday season, as more collectors buy these wines as gifts or seek out vintages to serve at holiday parties. Last year, Prosecco sales alone increased by a whopping 27 percent between September and December. If you have an especially old or valuable Champagne vintage, like a 1976 Dom Perignon Oenotheque, consider selling it in November to make the highest profit.

Rosé Is Your Star in the Spring

Last year, rosé sales nearly doubled in the spring and early summer. This varietal is a popular summer beverage, even among casual collectors. You should sell these wines as close to summer as possible, in late May or early June, while the weather is still mild. Rosé champagne, like NV Billecart-Salmon, can be sold before the holidays or in spring.

Use Allocations and Mailing Lists to Your Advantage

For wines that aren’t seasonal, consider selling most of these in the spring, just as collectors are focusing on allocations and mailing list offerings. Although it might seem like you are competing directly with the wineries when you do this, in reality, it helps you corner the market. Many collectors don’t clear the winery mailing lists they were hoping for, and popular allocations sell out quickly. When this happens, demand for past vintages increases. You can offer collectors a less stressful alternative to allocations when you sell your past vintages from a trustworthy marketplace instead.

Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s best wine.

At Vinfolio, we help our clients buy, sell, store, and manage their most
treasured bottles of wine. But in our spare time, we’re just a group of
passionate and slightly obsessed oenophiles–we love sharing a great
glass of vintage Champagne, followed by a Burgundy, and then a
Bordeaux, to get things started. We’re always obsessing over the latest (and oldest) vintages, and we want to share that knowledge and passion with our readers.